When I shared the good news with my family, I was visibly emotional, “Can you believe it?!,” I gushed. “Such special people! And they’ve waited so long! Can you imagine how it feels to wait so long for a child and then to hold your own baby in your arms?”
“So what?” asked my six-year-old son, clearly not impressed. “What’s the big deal? You also have a baby. You should be this happy about your own baby.”
I wanted to tell him that he missed the point. That when you wait for something for so long it becomes more special. That when Hashem grants a yeshuah after a seemingly endless amount of tears and tefilos it is inspiring and uplifting. But none of these retorts came out of my mouth. I didn’t say anything in response. I realized he was right.
Is a baby born after 18 years more of a miracle than one born in shana rishona? Due to our limited perspective, we applaud the happy ending that comes after a long road of suspense, the drama of a hopeless situation giving way to ultimate joy. There is something so human about appreciating only that which was struggled for; when something comes easy, we take it for granted.
After 18 years of aching for a child, I can’t imagine that these parents will bicker about whose turn it is to change the next diaper. The mother won’t sigh when yet another blouse is spit up on. No one will mind waking up in the middle of the night to soothe and feed a baby. How can they complain about all of those little annoyances when they’ve been davening to be “bothered” by a baby for 18 years?
The only difference between their baby and mine—born less than two years after her older brother—is that their 18 year wait has gifted them with clarity. The gratitude that we should feel for the brachah of a child gets clouded by the clamor of our busy lives. But when you’ve spent 18 years focused on one goal—expending physical, mental, emotional, and financial energy for that objective—how could you undervalue it once it’s achieved?
With the simple clarity that children possess, my son reminded me about the inherent preciousness of every baby and the unbounded happiness I should feel for being blessed with children. True, a baby after a 18 year wait is cause for celebration. It reminds us that Someone up there is listening, and we just need to keep knocking on His heavenly door until we’re answered. But my son taught me that we should be just as happy if He answers on the first knock.