The first moment they laid eyes on him was breathtaking. Because of the pandemic, no visitors were allowed around hospital grounds for the pandemics grip was ground breaking, heartbreaking too, for all the lives lost to poor leadership and decision-making. That we were heading home with baby about 36 hours later following his arrival was so striking. The pandemics grip was so tight that even newborn babies didn’t need the customary 48 hours in a hospital where the virus impact remained captivating. We arrived through the backyard. Grandma was watching the kids and knew we where on our way home. The kids were clueless. Dad held the car seat with baby and the hospital bags. I held my phone camera up ready to capture the joy I hoped would be striking.
The moment they saw us, the moment they saw baby, even the joy for the moment will forever be etched in my mind as it was amazing, this joy so elating. They sang how he was welcomed in the name of the Lord. Twirled and jumped around in excitement so exhilarating. Mama was singing and praying. The children were calling and repeating the name baby over and over again as if we named him baby. My middle son had a red shirt one with an emoji with four yellow smily faces making crazy but happy faces. My children did the same with all their crazy but happy faces. We were indeed welcomed in the name of the Lord following a birth during a pandemic so mesmerizing but still so frustrating. That we could come home with no problems and a healthy newborn kept me like grandma, singing and praying for this joy we found so intoxicating.
As was customary during the pandemic, everyone had to wash their hands or use hand sanitizers before touching baby. My children were no exception. He is so cute, my son said. My daughter agreed too. Baby lay restful in his car seat, straddling between being awake and being sleepy. They world was a scary place that refusing to choose either states made complete sense to me as well. What’s his name again, asked my daughter. Ranyenna. My son, refusing to learn just blurted that well we have two Olisa’s (the name of third baby now displaced from being our last baby). No we don’t, I said. His name is Ranyenna and you will learn how to say it with ease. Hi Breana, Hi Rihanna, they kept saying, until Ranyenna rolled from their tongue with ease.
But just when I though I had seen it all, my children surprised me with a bag. They say it was for baby. They back up some of their old toys in a plastic grey paper bag and made a paper card for baby’s arrival. They presented it to me to keep for baby. Their gift, even though full of toys used and old, is forever etched in my mind too as an example of love so blazing. Grandma talked about how she couldn’t sleep at night, about how she stayed up praying for our safe delivery. My kids talked about how baby was cute, how he was so cute and tiny, a cute tiny baby. I basked in their joy, knowing that the journey this time around was different, full of turbulence, made worse by a pandemic, whose path was groundbreaking, heartbreaking too. That our journey would end with us singing and praying was liberating. Watching Ranyenna awaken finally to their stares was joy so amazing that my soul kept singing and praying, for his blessings totally worth praising.