Nine years ago today I was laying in a hospital bed scared, excited, and apprehensive about the imminent birth of my first child. I know everyone says this, but I just can’t believe the time has gone this fast. I can still picture so clearly in my mind the events, the sounds, even my feelings, and every year I tell him the story about how he was born, how much he weighed (11 lbs 11 oz – yes, he was enormous and yes, I did have to have a c-section), what his old nursery looked like (even though he hardly slept in it – we quickly adopted the family bed), the little song I made up that rhymes with his name and used to sing to him as we sat and rocked and nursed. I still call him “sweet baby”, even though he gets really annoyed at being called a baby. “Mom, I’m in third grade!” he’ll protest. Then I have to pull a well-used phrase from the Standard Book of Mothering One Liners, ‘But you’ll always be my baby’.
I’m glad I have these memories because as time passes your child becomes what you see in front of you – an adult in the making. The round, undefined baby face is angular, with eyes that squint and size things up; the smell of clean diapers and baby lotion is replaced with that grubby boy smell of dirt and sports; and the smiling, cooing, happy baby has morphed into a pre-pubescent just discovering what it means to “have an attitude”. The physical reminders of your long-ago baby – a lock of hair, an inked footprint, the umbilical stump that now looks like a dried porcini mushroom and will never be flat enough to put in a scrap book – these relics are so rare that memories can feel almost real. I’m glad I have so many good ones.
Thank you God for giving me two such beautiful blessings. Forgive me for failing to be the mother that I should be and for all the ways I have not lived up to this sacred and honorable duty. Happy 9th birthday, Sweet Baby!