epiph-a-ny : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
It was supposed to be a practice session. She’d gone through the training and wanted to try out what she learned. I’d been sick for weeks, and she offered to come over one night, hoping a gentle touch might help the morning sickness lift.
But after she stepped back out into the winter cold and I wrapped back up in blankets on the couch, I stared into the fireplace and realized with absolute clarity. That it wasn’t nausea or vomiting or endless exhaustion that needed healing.
It was fear. Fear that we’d lose the baby again. Fear that I’d never make it to another delivery day. Fear that something was doomed to go wrong.
All of a sudden I saw that the hardest part of this nine-month journey would never be a burden of the body. It was all in the heart.
. . .
epiph-a-ny : a Christian festival held on January 6 in honor of the coming of the Magi to the infant Jesus Christ
“Mommy, why is tomorrow the last day of Christmas?”
Because it’s Epiphany.
“What does Epiphany mean?”
It’s when you see something amazing, that you never saw before.
“So why is January 6th called Epiphany?”
Because it’s the day the three wise men came to visit baby Jesus. They had never seen something amazing like that before.
“So tomorrow we will sing ‘Hark the Herald Angels’ but then on January 7th we will sing regular grace for dinner?”
Yes, that’s right. Because it’s the last day of Christmas, we still get to sing the Christmas songs.
“We should sing ALL the verses. That’s what we should do for Epiphany.”
We should sing all the songs we know by heart. For all the things we’ve never seen before.
. . .
epiph-a-ny : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
For weeks the meteorologists have been worrying and warning about the cold. Record-breaking. Life-threatening.
When the temperature finally plummeted last night and the negative numbers on the kitchen thermometer were enough to make me shiver, I listened as the radio host reveled in the jaw-dropping wind chills. The coldest in two decades.
That’s when it hit me. I’ve only lived here for ten years.
Tomorrow would be the coldest day of my life. When can we ever hyperbolize with absolute truth?
Even though I hate the cold, I smiled to myself as I flipped off the radio and turned upstairs for bed. Tomorrow I would see something I had never seen before.
. . .
epiph-a-ny : a revealing scene or moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way
As soon as we stepped into the dim room, my throat tightened with the memory: the two of us walking down a long, cold hospital hallway, the smell of freshly mopped linoleum and medicinal hand foam as we passed through the doorway, the blond-haired ultrasound tech waiting for us with kind eyes and a gentle voice.
Too much like the last time.
She poured warm gel from the squeeze bottle in a slow circle on my round belly. The grainy grey and black images began to blur and blink as she spun the wand around, trying to find the baby.
I wanted to look and I wanted to look away and I wanted everything to look right.
And suddenly, like a signpost in a swirling blizzard, the face slowly emerged from the whirling snow on screen: eyes, nose, lips. Two tiny hands trying to cram themselves into one small mouth.
All the fear evaporated as quick as a puff of breath into January cold.
I never believed women who said they fell in love so suddenly, when the lines on the test turned positive or the doctor placed the baby in their arms. But there it was.
I was absolutely smitten with what I saw.
Why this one, this second chance, this third child would make my heart leap like cloud nine, I’ll never know. Maybe because even though we had come here today—through bitter cold and biting wind and every wise voice warning us to stay home—hoping to find exactly this, I was still astonished to discover it before my own eyes.
Love in the humblest, smallest, most unlikely place.