Experiencing the birth of a child is perhaps the greatest privilege a mortal can encounter during this lifetime.
For a few moments, anyway, this sublime miracle seems to put all other worldly distractions into perspective. New life affirms the future.
My new grandson, Judah, reintroduced my family to this wonderful notion Friday when he entered the world at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Watching things transpire alongside many members of my family –- both here and abroad via social media — gave me a deep sense of wonder and awe.
For a while, I became a picture-taking maniac.
By way of introduction, let me say that Judah's a "big 'un," plain and simple. So big, in fact, that I'd do him a deep injustice, were I to label him anything less than a whopper.
Judah arrived on a spectacularly clear and sunny afternoon weighing a robust 10 pounds and 2.4 ounces. He possessed all the requisite physical accouterments including appropriate numbers of fingers and toes. He's by far the biggest newborn ever to take up residence in the Carnett household.
He broke the existing family tonnage standard like Bob Beamon shattered the world long-jump record in 1968. Remember Beamon breaking the old mark by nearly two feet at the Mexico City Olympics? Well, Judah has exceeded the family weight record by 2 pounds, and that, to my mind, is nothing short of amazing.
My daughter was big during the final weeks of her pregnancy (when she was barely eight months along, women would approach her at the mall and say, "you must be due any day!"), but we weren't expecting a 10-pounder. In fact, when my son-in-law texted "10-2" from the delivery room, I turned to my eldest daughter, flabbergasted, and said, "What? 10-2? Oct. 2?" It made no sense to me.
According to my best estimates, no baby of our clan has ever weighed more than a gram or two above 8 pounds. Heck, my scrawny little frame was first exposed to the light of day weighing a few ounces less than 6 pounds.
We've had preschoolers in our family who've barely tipped the scales at 10 pounds (we tend to be a petite and wiry breed).
After all the heavy lifting, I'm happy to report that his mother and father are doing fine.
And Judah (his middle name is James, after a certain grandfather in his family tree) shall be called exactly that: Judah. His mother — my youngest daughter, Melissa — insists that no nicknames will be tolerated. No parallel identities. He'll not be allowed to be labeled with the shorthand sobriquet, "J.J.!" On that point my daughter is adamant.
OK, with the name thing now settled, we're good until Bruno, his best friend in junior high, tags him with "J.J."
Judah James is the eighth child born to the progeny of my wife, Hedy, and myself. Our three daughters — Jenn, Jade and Melissa — have performed their duties painstakingly well, and now feel they've earned a permanent respite from this procreation business. Hedy and I are inclined to grant that request. Mr. Judah James is our family's caboose, a caboose that more aptly could be described as a locomotive.
Grandma and I feel deeply blessed.
Our brood of eight grandchildren now consists of six girls and two boys. Our oldest (13) and youngest (newborn) are boys. The six in the middle (11, 9, 7, 6, 3 and 1) are our string of pearls.
Ah, this grandpa is indeed smitten by his lovely pearls.
Five of the children were born at Hoag, two at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, and one southern belle arrived in North Carolina. She, you might not be surprised to hear, is the one imbued with a drawl as sweet as molasses.
It's been a raucous last few days in our household. We've been the recipients of an eighth miracle, and we're filled with gratitude.
Thanks, Lord, for super-sizing our boy. You are good, indeed!
JIM CARNETT lives in Costa Mesa. His column runs Wednesdays.