Last Saturday, I got two phone calls, one from my son Steve who said, “Dad, my water heater broke.” I have no idea why he’d call a guy like me. I’m not even certain where hot water comes from. The basement, I think. “Mop up the water,” I told him, “and call your Uncle Bill. He’s a plumber.” The second call came from my daughter who said, “Daddy, my water broke.” On April first she said the same thing, but this time I knew it was no joke. She said the contractions were 15 minutes apart, which sounded urgent to me.Twenty-four hours of labour had begun.
Times have changed since I was a kid. Back then, Dads weren’t allowed in the same county as their wives during childbirth. It’s likely because guys were known for fainting in the delivery room. “Ah, look Bob, there’s your son’s hair.”Wham. Then everybody had to keep stepping over Bob.Times change. Months before Rachael’s water broke, she sent out formal requests inviting to the delivery room her husband, her mother, her best friend, and her doula, which I had never heard of. A doula is someone who has had at least 12 children herself, so is qualified to offer practical assistance and emotional support. Plus, she brings crackers and cheese to the birthing room while her husband stays home with the kids, which is what I was doing. I was babysitting my first granddaughter, when my wife called to tell me they were running out of food and would I bring more snacks.
So I did. And suddenly I was standing in my daughter’s delivery room. Worship music was playing loudly. I offered words of comfort to my daughter. “Rachael, remember that most people have been born this way. It’ll be okay.” Then I fainted. Not really. But I did leave rather quickly.Back home I thought about a phone call from my daughter 11 months earlier. “Daddy,” she said, “We lost the baby.” In the midst of darkness and fear, God heard our prayers for another child. I flipped the pages of my wife’s Bible to Psalm 78, “We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD…his power and his mighty wonders…He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them.”
Early Sunday morning, we said hello to our second grandbaby. I was lovestruck. Despite my suggestion that they name her Phyllis in my honor, she is named after the Lord of the Ringscourageous character Eowyn. Welcome to our world Eowyn. Jesus is here. And you’re gonna like your Granddaddy. I’m gonna feed you ice cream before your parents want me to. Then we’ll all go over to your uncle’s place where you can have a hot bath. He’s got himself a brand new water heater.