I understand why people have 10 kids. There is comfort in always having a baby on your hip. If you always have a baby, you can never forget the baby years.
It was only when N was born that I became acutely aware that X was no longer a baby. Having a legit baby in my arms (my new baby, N) shattered the continum of my first baby, X. Until N’s birth, I still thought that X was a baby. I didn’t infantalize him, and yet, in the hurried pace with which the years pass, nothing had convinced me that he was no longer a baby. N was the proof that jolted me to see the truth: they don’t stay babies long. God willing, they grow. God willing, babyhood is a temporary state.
I want nothing more than to see my babies grow and flourish, but my damn mind worries me. I know that I will forget their babyhoods. I know that I already am. The other night, I made myself truly watch, trying to soak up memories. I watched N:
- applaud himself after taking his antibiotics; look to S. & me and smile glowingly at our praise
- play with the microwave for 10 minutes: opening the door, putting a bowl inside, closing the door, delighted, laughing!
- run to the bath, chasing his brother; attempt to climb into the bath, fully clothed
- and all the times he says, “no, no, no,” with a smile on his face
- or how he diligently says “bye bye” and waves to everyone before leaving a locale: he did it at the pharmacy the other day, waving to all the patrons and saying, “bye bye, outside” > superstar baby + polite!
- mostly, the smiles on his face, his squinty-eye expressions, and how he even looks cute with a red, blotchy allergic reaction
I worry that in the future, when I replay these memories in my mind, I will not be able to see that baby. I will not be able to see the whole & total person that he is today. I will only see the vague outline of a babyhood.
With X, I had every confidence that babyhood would last forever, so why worry? With N, I know better, and that’s why I worry about his baby years slipping away. Since N is not my first baby, let me find solace in my own knowledge. Here is my wisdom:
- God willing, babyhood will fade, and I might not be able to conjure every gesture or habit of my baby, nor every memory, but I will know that I loved him. I will know that I loved my babies fiercely, and they were perfect to me.
- Let me trust my mind enough that one or two stories will stick. It is good that time moves forward, and it is okay to not remember everything.
- God willing, I will be distracted by the person N has become in the present moment. I don’t actually mourn X’s babyhood: I am too focused on who he is now.
- I should take more pictures ;)
What about you? Do you worry that you will forget the baby years? xoxo