four days old

Four days old.

I was born in Pittsburgh in May 1980, when the Steelers and Pirates were both defending champions.  My parents were younger then than I am now.  I asked my Dad once if he was nervous about becoming a parent for the first time, and he said, “Not really.”

You see, my father was a pediatrician, and my mother was a nurse, both of them very smart, caring people who had taken care of many children.  They always knew what to do when my brothers and I would get hurt or sick.

My mother has told me that I cried a lot.  All babies cry a lot, of course– what else is there to do?, but I cried a lot even for a baby.  Apparently, I was often uncomfortable.  My skin was easily irritated.  In general, I was overly sensitive– a description that would fit me all my life.

My mom would hold me for hours, trying to get me to stop crying.  At times, she was in tears, wondering how, with all of her training and experience as a nurse, she could seemingly calm any baby but this one.

I have no idea if my restlessness as an infant had any connection to Asperger’s (a term that hadn’t even been coined yet).  I did find it interesting to read of a similar experience in Daniel Tammet’s autobiography, Born on a Blue Day.  Tammet is autistic and experiences vivid synesthesia (perceiving things like words, numbers, and days as having colors and shapes).

When he was a baby, Daniel cried at all hours of the day, and his parents would calm him by making a sort of hammock out of a blanket and swinging it back and forth, each of them holding one end.  It does make sense to me that a baby with autism might experience the world with more sensitivity and take a longer time to adjust to that than a non-autistic baby, but I don’t have any real evidence to back that up.  I would imagine that experiences vary quite a bit depending on the individual.

But whatever the case, I am so thankful for my mother’s patient love.  Before I was even aware, I was loved unconditionally by my parents.  I think that my parents have been the most powerful testimony in my life about the love of God.  It’s because of that reflection that I have a concept of what God’s love is in a world that usually doesn’t reflect it clearly.  It’s why I can have hope even in the most painful or distressing times that all along, I have been resting in the arms of my heavenly Father.