On July 4 I flew back to Philadelphia from California. Of course my mind traveled back to 1969 when on July 4th Edmund and I landed in Papua New Guinea for the first time. I was in my 8th month pregnant with Jonathan. We had been quarantined in Australia and so missed our connecting flight. Our luggage was mistakenly sent to Tokyo.
But all those ancient experiences were eclipsed by the newest happening—the birth of Nathaniel Edmund Cassise on June 24, 2014. Anthony and my daughter Heidi are the proud parents. The little fellow couldn’t wait for his due date of August 3. He came six weeks early—just that much more time to hug him and enjoy him. I was thrilled to be there for the cliff-hanging event. You see, the membrane had broken seven weeks before expected so Heidi was put in the hospital on complete bed rest. A week later doctors induced labor but after thirty hours she had only dilated two centimeters and the monitors showed that the baby was in distress. So Heidi was quickly moved to surgery for a C-section. The umbilical cord was around little Nathaniel’s neck so we knew right then that the surgeon had made the right decision. Nathaniel weighed 4 lbs. 14 oz. a good size for a preemie. After pressing the baby’s face against Anthony and Heidi’s cheeks, he was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
I had never held such a tiny baby but it was love at first sight. He’s a miracle. Imagine a little sperm and a little seed coming together and creating this perfect life—ten fingers and ten toes, a cute nose, a perfect mouth and angelic features. I couldn’t look at him enough.
I was deeply impressed with the careful, loving attendance of the nurses there. One, named Paul said he had been doing this kind of work for 23 years. When I said, “I can see you really enjoy your work,” he said, “Ah, I do and I even get paid for it.”
Nathanial doesn’t know yet how blessed he is by having parents who have prayed for him, love him deeply and are committed to be the best parents possible under God’s grace. And there are grandparents on both sides who will form a circle of love and prayer around this little family.
When he was released from the hospital and we took turns feeding and changing and rocking him, I didn’t want to put him in his crib, even when he was sleeping. I just wanted to keep holding him. I could whisper my love to him and pray for him. We needed to get acquainted, and I’m sure you can’t spoil a week-old baby, so hold him I did. The famous Winnie the Pooh said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
I already had nine grand children; Nathaniel is number ten. I love what John Ortberg’s grandmother said when anyone asked her which of her six children she loved the most. She said, “Love for your children doesn’t work that way.” She said, “It’s as if when each child is born, another little room gets added to your heart. And no one else occupies that room. It doesn’t have to be bigger or better than any other room. It’s just theirs.” I think that applies to grandchildren as well, don’t you?
Welcome, Nathaniel Edmund Cassise. I’m glad he didn’t wait until July 4th to be born, or even his August 3rd due date. Psalm 139:16 says that God has a book with each of the days of our lives already written there. I can’t explain it and Nathaniel doesn’t know it yet, but God said it and that settles it.
I look forward to the exciting adventures God has ahead for this new grandson of mine, this new son of His. We know from 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 that God loves him and has selected him for a special purpose.
P.S. If you are curious about the thinking behind the name Anthony and Heidi chose for their firstborn, see Anthony’s blog, The Musings of a Cart Pusher, here. It’s well worth the read.