The moment I first saw him face-to-face is one I’ll never forget: he was blue.
I don’t recall being alarmed, though this was certainly my most difficult delivery (that’s not so much a complaint as it is a comparison to the birth of my older children); had he been my first, my reaction might have been different, panicked, fearful. To everyone in the room but to no one in particular, I mused aloud, “I just gave birth to a Smurf!”
Humor always calms me.
Judged immediately as less than perfect according to Apgar, his skin pinked quickly. Through mom-colored glasses I counted ten fingers and ten toes…perfect, to me.
When I was pregnant with my second, I wondered-with-horror how my love could be divided between two children! What I quickly learned was that mother-love is never divided, it is only multiplied with subsequent births.
I suppose because my body was once their home, when they were born a part of me stayed with them…invisible threads, inseverable binding, an extension of my own heart, this connection between mother and child….
Is this universal for all mothers? Might it explain why our children’s successes taste sweeter than our own; why we’re grieved when discipline is necessary; why our own hearts shatter when theirs have been battered and bruised first in friendship, then in love; how we can celebrate the mundane and expected–walking and talking, shoe tying and potty training, flight on two wheels?
Today my baby turns 12; and yet I can still smell his newborn scent.
His love language is touch; his second voice is time. Though he wasn’t clingy, when he was younger, I was sure if given the chance he’d return to the womb. He wakes up cheerfully and chattily every day, and his need to speak is just as strong as his siblings’ demand for quiet and my requirement for coffee.
Makes for interesting mornings.
This child captures lions for me.
This boy can slay me with surprise.
Sometimes, he flies.
He’s secure enough? mature enough? sensitive enough? to understand when I call him “Baby” it doesn’t mean he IS a baby, or even that he’s the baby of our family, but rather it’s how I express my love to him (and many others). Maybe I picked that up a lifetime ago from Robert Munsch’s book, “I’ll Love You Forever“, which to this day, beckons tears when I read–
“I’ll love you forever /
I’ll love you for always /
As long as I’m living /
My baby you’ll be.”
Even if my baby is a Smurf.