A few days ago, I went over to my friends’ house to meet their new baby boy. Since having my own babies, I can really appreciate how lucky I am to have a chance to visit during the first few weeks of a baby’s life. I feel so lucky whenever friends or family let me in on this intimidate time. The new mama is often hurting in delicate areas and the new dad is often overwhelmed. I can appreciate just how much effort it is to put a happy expression on your face when you are really a weepy ball of hormones that is also leaking milk. You know that you are really in the category of ‘close friends’ when new parents ask you to come over and spend a few hours with them and their new little one.
Last Friday, we walked into the apartment and there was the newborn baby, just a teeny-tiny little thing. He was sleeping on his mother’s chest, arching his back into an impossible angle, emotions flickering over his face as he slept dwarfed in his newborn-sized clothing. In my arms, I clutched my own baby, Ada; her weight familiar on my hip. She cooed and smiled responding to the happy sounds of the adults around her. Her eyes always searching out her big brother, who she thinks is the coolest person in the world. And suddenly, my six-month-old baby seemed gigantic; like she is pretty much ready to go to college.
Where has the past half a year gone?
Has it really been so long since I was splayed out on a cold operating table, listening for her first cry? Has it really been so long since she spent days wrapped in a swaddle with a Christmas-tree-ornament-sized hat on her bald head? It’s only been a few seasons, just a matter of weeks really, but so much has changed.
Before I had Ada, I never realized how much I love the baby stage. And that sucks because pretty much as soon as you realize that the baby stage is awesome, it’s already ending. One day you put your baby down under her play gym, leave for a minute, come back and she’s rolled across the floor. Or you decide to give solid food a try, just give her a taste and see if she likes it. And in a few days, she’s eating the whole jar and wanting more. You haven’t even broken the bibs and plastic spoons out of storage because you are that unprepared.
You can’t hold onto it. You can’t hold onto this time no matter what you do.
No matter how much you write in their baby book. No matter how many pictures you take. It’s goes by so fast. Still, you won’t hear me telling you to appreciate every moment. You won’t hear me saying I wish I could stop time. No, that’s the contract I made with my baby girl when she was born, that I would never ever try to hold her back. My baby girl took off into this world like a horse at the sound of a gun. She is wild and she is strong. I won’t try to lasso her. Instead, I’ll just have to get used to racing to keep up.