I roared you into the world, my son, named for kings and princes among men, named for family and strength and influence. We heard your name whispered by heaven’s messengers. You are the word for our world – stewardship, guardianship, the one who replaces old with new.

It was a new thing bringing you into the world.

I labored at home, in and out of warm waters, relying on your father for strength. And you came within 18 hours. (Eighteen – chai – the numerical value of the Hebrew word “life”.)

By 1 pm, the midwives were checking. Family was waiting. Nurses were ready. By 1:45 we were talking with doctors in the course of active labor. Then I was on my feet, leaning over a bed, and I felt you come on, and your waters burst. Climbing like an animal, I screamed from my cells, what my DNA produced from a fundamental place. I roared. I wailed. I became what I already was.

Transition. I learned later that when the waters broke, your head shifted down, suddenly locked in, fully committed, and here you came. But we were still a walk – or a run – away, and they were talking, they said a room was now ready. They made the call. I bellowed down my body, and we barreled through the hallways, past staff and elderly onlookers. The doula’s voice rang reassuring in my ears, “I’m still here!”

Then bright lights and a fresh bed, and my knees up and pushing. They said you were “at three” – you were nearly among us. So I roared.

Ten minutes, they told me later. Ten minutes of pushing. I saw you emerging, through glasses unfogged, a sign and a wonder, the embodiment of our determination. You’d come through it so quickly – once, twice, thrice was all I could remember. You were wet and alive on my deflating belly. And you sprayed as you cried, and the midwife caught it, one last fountain of your broken waters.

You were hungry. You were perfect. You were oozing with life. You personified every hard-won grace-growth of family and mothering.

And I was amazed, and your father amazed, and the angels attending stood in celebration and wonder. And Father sang your song, my son, called you by name, named the battles you’ve won. You are His favorite song.