Dreams For My Daughter

Nate & Charlotte Noonen

On Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM my daughter Charlotte was born.  I was there and watched my wife deal with pain that is indescribable.  In the moments of labor, when it seemed like she would never come, I laid in the bed with my wife and gave her truths.  God is with you.  Charlotte is coming soon.  You are doing so well.  I love you so much.  When 7:50 happened it was surreal.

A baby born at 7 pounds 7 ounces and 19 inches long is a lot larger than I imagined.  She was still very tiny, but large given the size of things that normally come out of a human’s body.

Kimmy held her and Charlotte nursed.  Then, while the midwives tended to my wife, it was my turn to hold my daughter.  I picked her up, soothed her cries, and held her close to my heart.  There was no magic surge of love, no profound thoughts, just a frozen world where the only thing that mattered to me was this tiny, red, living being.

The first days have been vignettes of one to four hour increments.  Sleep, diaper, eat, burp, rock, sleep, eat, burp, diaper in an endless cycle.  Interspersed among these have been visitors, texts, emails from work that I felt it necessary to respond to (old habits die hard), time with God, and sleep.

One evening, after watching the Olympics and thinking of medals, I read Charlotte some of Bertrand Russell’s philosophy and his critique of the existence of God.  For any person who believes in God, doubts are a recurring theme.  Bertrand isn’t persuasive enough for me, but sometimes, as it says in “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the darkness and the eyes of sinful man may hide Him for a few moments, hours, or even longer.  That evening, imagination of athletic success and debating philosophy with Charlotte were all I could think about.

The next day, at an hour when it was daylight (our only time delimiter is day/night), I was on the couch holding Charlotte trying to remember the words of the third verse of “Hallelujah, What a Savior” when I decided it was time to hang out with God.  I started up Pandora and seeded a station with “He Reigns” by the Newsboys.  The song “In Christ Alone” came on and I sung to her every word.  The final verse I modified the lyrics to “No guilt in life, no fear in death this is the power of Christ in you. From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands your destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck you from His hand. ‘Til he returns or calls you home, here in the power of Christ you’ll stand.” In that moment I had no doubts as to God’s existence.  The visions of the previous night faded into obscurity behind the praise of God and the hope for Charlotte’s relationship with Him.

My only priority at this moment is to find a way to keep God first in my life, Charlotte and Kimmy second.  Oddly enough, the closer I get to God, the better my relationship with my family becomes.  I am less likely to take time with Charlotte for granted when I realize she is a gift who could be taken at any moment.  I am more likely to respond to my wife’s attempts to wake me (I’m a really heavy sleeper) and respond in love when I know where I would be if God hadn’t brought her into my life.

As my child grows, I will have to constantly remind myself of this.  When I have visions of her with a gold medal, a college diploma, and a child of her own, I have to give her future to God.  Living life in tiny increments permeated with the flavor of a loving home, showing her little by little the God she has yet to encounter.

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