We were drinking red wine over ice in front of a tiny pizza shop in Costa Rica. The guy baking our pizza greeted his wife and baby daughter with such love and joy, that I knew in an instant what I wanted in life.
I wanted a family, and for that family to be filled with love.
Thing is, I wasn’t a “baby” person. While babies are (often) fairly essential to the achievement of that goal, there was never a time in my adult life that I recall being excited about them. I generally avoided holding babies. Maybe I was afraid of hurting them. More likely I was afraid of getting my feelings hurt if the baby cried in my arms.
But I didn’t think about that before we decided to get pregnant.
Walden made me nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, or if I would be any good at being a parent. The truth is, I felt a sort of wonder and shock in the early days. I was overwhelmed by knowing that this tiny little person was entirely my responsibility. Feeding him was stressful. Putting him to bed was a sport. I was constantly looking forward to the next thing, assuming it would be easier. So much about those days didn’t go according to my plan. I didn’t enjoy him as much as I could have.
Then, one day before Bertie was born, Walden was saying or doing something exceedingly cute and surprising. (He does that a lot these days.) In that moment I realized how special this time is. We are (nearly) his entire world. Everything else is new and exciting, and we get to show it to him. Grasping that caused me to greet our new baby with a new attitude. I knew he will be a baby for only a very short time. That in the blink of an eye he’ll be twisting out of my hugs to go play. And before we know it, these days of toy trains and pretend picnics will be replaced with homework and soccer games.
Now when I snuggle my squishy, squirmy tiny son, I totally get why people go gaga for babies.
(Also, because I’m still a toddler’s mom, I totally get this: Reasons Why My Son is Crying. Have you seen it yet?)