I remember the day Andrew was born.
Well, it started the day before. Dad drove Mom, Miriam and me to the hospital when we got the call from David that Ruthie was there in labor. We waited awhile but ended up going home before Baby Lorenzo arrived. When we went back the next day, we weren’t able to hold Andrew because he was on antibiotics. I felt so sorry for him, with the IV attached to his little scalp. But Ruthie and David’s firstbborn finally came home healthy and loved.
Happiness is a brand-new baby.
In 2014, we mourned the loss of Mama Fe. It was pretty tough as Mother’s Day approached, the first one without Mom. Zee and Zechariah planned to take me out for brunch. We invited any family members who wanted to join us. The RSVP’s came trickling in — Louie and Sally, Jayna and Stephen with Jonah, Jeremy and Cora, and Rob and Karen. The Lorenzos, except for Andrew, would be out of town that weekend. Andrew sent me a message that he would be coming and asked if he could bring a “plus 1.”
We all had our guesses on who the “plus 1” might be, but we had to wait for Mother’s Day to get the happy confirmation that Andrew’s “plus 1” was Aiden.
I don’t really use the word “bittersweet,” but that Mother’s Day was just that. It was exciting to see Andrew with his new girlfriend. But I wished Mom and Dad could have seen these four grandchildren so happy with their spouses and soon-to-be’s. We all were really missing Mom, but being together and enjoying Andrew’s surprise took some of the sting out of her absence.
Happiness is a brand-new “plus 1.”
Two years later, One plus One became One. Andrew and Aiden pledged their love to each other on their wedding day.
Happiness is a brand-new husband and wife.
And last month, One plus One became Three — Nathaniel Andrew Quijano Lorenzo was born on November 2.
Zee, Zechariah and I were visiting Auntie Puring at the hospital when I got the text from Ruthie that Andrew had brought Aiden to a different hospital. The three of us transferred hospitals and went to the maternity floor to wait for the arrival of Baby Lorenzo.
At 1:56AM Andrew and Aiden became parents.
Happiness is a brand-new baby.
As it turned out, my family welcomed Nathan into the world within hours of saying our final good-byes to Auntie Puring. As one life was ending, a new life was just beginning. Auntie left us the following week. She never got to see Nathan, but she knew of his birth. And she was happy.
There’s that word again — bittersweet.
But perhaps that is how Yahweh has planned our lives. It’s hard to take bitterness by itself. And even sweetness can be too much. But if you blend the two, they are much easier to swallow.
Solomon knew very well the dichotomy of life, as he wrote in Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a and 4, NIV).
It’s a given for every peak, there will be a valley. Even in the deepest of life’s valleys, the Bible gives us great hope:
“…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, NIV).
“…I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13, NIV).
Andrew and Aiden: You may not realize how you both have brought happiness into my life during times of great loss. Yahweh blessed your union by bringing you a beautiful Baby Boy. Nathan is so very blessed to have parents who love him and can provide for all his needs. Not only will you surround him with love, but you will raise him to know and love Yahweh and Yeshua. Thank you so much for sharing your “Bundle of Joy” with the Zuniga family.
Ruby and Adam: Congratulations on the birth of your first grandchild. How exciting for you! I can see how much Mamang Ruby loves her new apo. Nathan is blessed by your loving and generous heart.
Ruthie and David: Congratulations on being blessed with another grandson. There definitely is plenty of love from Grandma and Grandpa to go around. May Yahweh continue to grow your family.
Happiness is a brand-new grandson.
When I look back at this year, I will hold on to the happiness that it has brought. Yahweh has a purpose for “thorns” in our lives, but I don’t think He means for us to allow them to continue to pierce our souls. I like to think that He wants for us to grow beyond the thorns and to look to the roses, to the beauty He has provided for us. He has gifted us with life and opportunities to show our love to each other. So, I choose to move forward and spend more time “smelling the roses” and rejoicing in all the wonderful blessings Yahweh has provided.
I think I’ll label 2018 the “Year of New Birth”—of Baby Joseph and Baby Nathan joining our family. And as this year ends, I look forward to new beginnings.
Baby Nathan: You have come at just the right time. In a year filled with valleys of pain and sadness, your birth shows the faithfulness of Yahweh to bring “joy in the morning.” You are a symbol of life moving forward — of possibilities for new beginnings. Of hope for a bright future.
Happiness is Baby Nathan! I love you! ~ Nina Nina.