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Posts Tagged ‘Bishop Shannon Rogers Duckworth’

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June Margaret and mother Martha

I was prepared for this to be a different Christmas. My youngest daughter’s first child was due on Dec. 19th, so I took off the 19th and 20th and drove to her home to be with her and her husband. She had a scheduled induction on Tuesday, Dec. 20th. I will not go into the details of the whole process, but Martha handled the long labor like a champ. When at 11:30 PM, she was ready to push, my middle daughter turned to me and pointed to her watch. We realized that the baby would be born on her great grandfather’s birthday. She came into the world at 12:39 on Dec. 21st.

My first look at this new baby girl confirmed our suspicions that she would be a big baby. She even had jelly rolls on her legs. Later we found out she weighed 9 lbs. 5 oz.!

Martha and Paul did not reveal her name until she was born. I anxiously waited while Martha said she needed to hold her before she would name her. With the baby in her arms, she turned to me and said, “Her name is June Margaret.” My heart melted.

Margaret is a name that was given to me by my mother to honor her mother who passed away 3 months before I was born. I’ve always thought of my grandmother Margaret as a guardian angel. We named our first daughter Margaret and call her Maggie. When Maggie didn’t use the name for her daughter, I thought that was the end of the line. I never imagined that Martha would choose it. Once Martha knew she was having a girl, she told us that the baby’s name was one syllable. That put me into a rabbit hole of one syllable girl names. June never appeared on my list. And neither did Margaret.

I know Baby June will grow into her name and give it her own personality. The legacy of Margaret is with her. But even without the gift of the name, this child is in my heart.

While she was being born, we played Martha’s Christmas playlist. One of the songs was “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant. In that moment, all was quiet. I looked over at the doctor, a small petite woman, who was swaying back and forth as I was. We felt the presence of God in the room. Birth is a holy moment.

One hymn that has been playing in my head was featured in Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Christmas message: “Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely. Love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angel gave the sign. Love came down at Christmas.”

June Margaret is a Christmas miracle. She is love divine. She is a pure angel.

I attended Christmas Eve service at Christ Cathedral in New Orleans. In her first Christmas message as bishop of Louisiana, Bishop Shannon Rogers Duckworth told us to embrace the small moments. I pray this first Christmas with June will stay with me as one of those gems, the small moment of holding pure love and being a witness to the love of my daughter with her husband and their new not-so-tiny newborn.

Breath of Heaven

A winter solstice
A holy birth
Total darkness
shines with June light.

Margaret Simon

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