"Miss Linda, you have to come over to my house!"
Frankie was insistent, "You really have to come over to my house," he said again, grabbing my hand.
"Hey you guys!" I called out to my group, "I'll be right back. Apparently I have to go to Frankie's house."
I asked Frankie if it was OK with his mom. He assured me that his mom really wanted me to come.
I gingerly climbed down the steep path, grabbing onto the barbed wire for balance. Frankie ran ahead into the house, and then emerged again extending his hand. He led me into the front room of the two room house. Frankie's mom greeted me just inside the door with a big warm hug. She turned toward the big double bed behind her, and with a little gesture presented her new baby daughter, Melissa.
Melissa was sleeping peacefully on a sturdy little waterproof pad, which her mother scooped up and placed into my arms. I could feel her all warm and round and cozy in her little padded nest, and I held her up to my face to smell her and give her a little kiss.
A miracle. This baby is a miracle. "Un milagro. Felicidades," I whispered.
I looked up at Frankie, standing off to the side and grinning ear to ear. I looked toward the doorway of the second room, where his brother, a little older, was smiling shyly. I looked into Mom's eyes, which were teary like mine, and we both smiled great big smiles of pure joy.
"How old is she?"
"She is big and happy."
"She is a miracle."
There are no words to describe just how joyful this moment was, nor the wisdom in Frankie's insistence in making this visit happen.
A year and a half ago, Frankie held my hand on the steep path. Frankie and his family and the women of the community were together in this room. Frankie was at my side as I gently lifted the cold body of his baby sister from her small white coffin and held her, and kissed her, and baptized her, and buried her.
I placed Melissa into her mother's arms. "Thank you for inviting me to come."
Frankie handed me a well-worn little stuffed panda. "This is for you," he said.
"Thank you, Frankie."
We climbed hand-in-hand up the steep path.