A Catholic Monthly Magazine


by Maria Kennedy

by Maria Kennedy

The emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good.  Dictionary.com

What is the joy of the Holy Spirit like? Maybe it’s like the joy we feel when meeting a new-born baby. Maybe this joy is always inside us and needs to be uncovered. From joy comes humour.

Barbara was in a real flap, bustling about the house like a fire cracker on steroids and she had been that way ever since the phone rang at five that morning. “It’s a girl!” This was their third grandchild and Barbara’s first granddaughter. After being a mother to four boys, Barbara was overjoyed to have a girl in the family. “Pink at last!” Susan Mary was born at 4:25 am, a healthy baby girl, weighing in at 3.8 kg.

“I want to stop off at the florist on the way up to the hospital and get Anna a lovely bunch of pink flowers. I think she deserves some nice flowers, don’t you? Are you listening to me Roger?”

Roger sat there quietly. Barbara being the way she was needed calm reassurance. He wanted to argue that maybe they should wait until at least after lunch and let Anna and the baby rest. But the way Barbara was flying through the cupboards and filling up a bag with gifts and dressing herself with a pink scarf there was no way they could avoid a morning visit. No, he knew this wasn’t the right thing to say and so he kept silent and let Barbara carry on fluttering about in the kitchen, though he couldn’t resist one little tease.

“If you want a proper bunch of flowers you’ll have to wait until the florist opens.”

It was almost too much for Barbara when they reached the hospital. Roger felt if he didn’t take her arm in the corridor she might leave the floor and float off. Besides, she needed some guidance as she spent the entire time talking and hardly watched where she was going. When they finally found Anna and Steve and the tiny bundle, Susan, wrapped up and sleeping in the cot beside Anna’s bed, Barbara burst into a series of ohhs and ahhs, her song of joy, followed by hugs and tears of delight. Before the first minute had passed, according to Barbara, baby Susan had inherited a nose from Anna and a chin from Steve. With a face so perfect, her rose-bud little mouth so divine and her mass of dark curly hair so unexpected she was nothing short of an angel sent from heaven.

Roger wanted to apologise. Anna and Steve looked done in like they hadn’t slept all night and in Roger’s mind he and Barbara should have waited another day. But Barbara could not be kept apart from her first granddaughter and he hoped Anna and Steve would understand. He was about to say so but he was beaten by a tiny cry. The baby!

Steve gently lifted the stirring baby from the cot and after a few rocks Susan settled back to sleep. Then very gently Steve handed the new baby to Roger. Roger felt an unexpected thrill go through him. His new granddaughter hardly weighed a feather and she was no longer than his forearm.

“Hello young lady. Aren’t you a beauty.”

You would think the baby wouldn’t be doing anything much, yet while she lay there in Roger’s arms, with Barbara ogling from the side, Susan still managed to free her tiny fist from the blanket and bring it up to her face.

A permanent smile had now spread across Roger’s face and he could look nowhere else except down at his tiny, new granddaughter. Then quite unexpectedly baby Susan opened her eyes and stared directly into Roger’s face. That stare pierced the very centre of Roger’s being. Roger didn’t know if the joy he now felt came from the child that seemed to hold eternity in her eyes, or, had his granddaughter pulled the joy out of him, a brilliant joy which before had been covered over by his reserve. What a wonderful joy it was - like the way sea gulls throw themselves into the sky when chased on a beach, or like sunlight filling a room when the curtains are pulled apart or even like water bursting out of a tap, clean, clear and quenching. Such was this joy, Roger nearly burst into tears. Roger was now like Barbara, overjoyed at meeting this tiny, sleeping child of God.

Kennedy AliceBarbara couldn’t stand it any longer. It was a kindness on her part that she had let Roger have the child this long. “Let me have a turn,” she wailed with her hands opened out. She welcomed her granddaughter with relish and cooed down at her. Roger turned away and joked with Anna.

“You look a bit done in,” he said cheerfully. “I take it you won’t be doing your usual jog today.”

“Maybe tomorrow,” Anna quipped back. “The weather is meant to be better tomorrow.”

That was a happy memory from way back then before Roger’s son Steve and Anna took a trial separation. Roger shook his head in disbelief. His own heart had been broken with the news.

Roger looked up at Barbara who was cutting carrots at the sink. “Is Anna bringing the children over to say good-bye?”

“How should I know?” she replied as if she was straining her words through her teeth.

Roger shrugged and stared out the window. He still couldn’t believe it had come to this. Anna had decided to move closer to her parents with the children, to another city altogether. They would only get to see Matthew and Susan in the school holidays.

Just then Roger watched a sparrow land in the water bath in the garden. For a moment or two while the bird fluttered and splashed in the water, Roger was soothed by a small joy of nature.

Tagged as: ,

Comments are closed.