Dear Gabriel,

You have the name of an angel. And as I held you yesterday, forgetting all about my dislike of babies in the face of your petite perfection, I had another glimpse at what heaven holds for each of us.

The angel Gabriel, came to the Virgin Mary and asked her if she would accept the mission that would bring about our salvation. Looking down at you in my arms in the hospital room, I felt the power of her “yes,” felt again the many opportunities in my life to say “yes” to what God asks of me.

You are my younger brother’s first child. I marvel at myself, at the tears that flowed when I heard of your existence inside your mom and the tears that flowed again when I heard of your birth. Why, exactly, was I crying? (I was sure it wasn’t just because I’m female!)

I imagined you growing bigger, running and jumping through your childhood, perhaps having children of your own. Life seemed not so much a circle as a long ribbon of possibility as your small hands worked their way out of the swaddle.

I don’t usually hold new babies, but you, you are my brother’s baby. I watched him in his new role as your daddy. I heard his voice gentle towards your mom, and I saw affirmation of my favorite part of birth — the strengthening of a love by the insertion of a new person.

May the angels who surround you still continue to watch over you, precious Gabriel, and may your parents know the joy that is planted in persisting through sleepless nights, the reward that is reaped in overcoming the uncertainties of parenthood, the blessing that is found in the small hand now in theirs.

With love,
Aunt Sarah