This is my baby girl, Jazlyn, age four months. And while this may look like just another run-of-the-mill baby picture, it’s much, much more. Let me explain.
You may have noticed how parents — especially first-time parents — tend to go shutter-crazy, and I’ll proudly admit to this condition. Even so, the moment I took this picture I knew I had something of everlasting significance to my daughter, my wife and me.
You see, just days before this was taken, little baby Jazlyn was in the hospital. She’d been there nearly a week with a severe case of RSV, a respiratory condition especially dangerous to infants. And she’d been struggling for days before that, her health so compromised that when we took her to the pediatrician, he immediately put her in an ambulance to the ER. If we transported her without medical assistance, he explained, her little body might give up the difficult work of keeping her breathing.
Words can’t describe.
With the ER came the doctors, and with the doctors came the pokes and the tubes – all the invasive tubes – up her nose, into her hands, down her throat. Needless to say, standing by while all this was going on was hard for us, not least of all because we’re older than you might expect; fertility hadn’t come easily, and we’d tried for four years — often desperately — to get this precious little soul here to earth. And now here she was, screaming, full of tubes.
But our baby girl fought through the worst of it, and at last she was back home – not fully healed, but improved.
Then one afternoon, only days after coming home, we sensed her spirit had brightened. “Go get your camera,” my wife urged. “Let’s take her picture.” I didn’t have to be told twice: I got my camera, snapped on my fastest lens, and came back to the baby room where my wife sat Jazlyn on her tiny white chair and leaned her gently against its arm rest for extra support. Though her spirit was willing, Jazlyn’s little baby body was still weak.
My first shots were just okay, and I knew this might be a short session, given the circumstances. But then, at the sound of my voice, and with the comfort of her mother’s touch, Jazlyn sat up, slowly reached toward me, and smiled that most sincere of all toothless little smiles. Oh. That smile! At that moment, it was as if she were saying I’m okay, Mom and Dad.
This is that picture, it tells the story of this memory. I look at it, and pure love and humble gratitude for life flows through me. And all is well.