It was eight years ago last week that MrG and I found out we were expecting. For more than two years, I had craved the soft warmth of a baby in my arms, the coos and kitten mews, the little smiles that just happen sometimes. I wanted more than anything else to bring a life into the world so I could have just that.
We tried and we tried, then the doctors got involved. Then came calendars on the fridge and medication. And finally, I felt a little different than I had ever felt before. The next morning, I found a faint line on the home pregnancy test. It was the first time I had ever seen that line, although I had hoped for it for many years. A blood test confirmed it later that day. We finally had our baby.
Nine months later, our sweet little baby joined us. Looking at her, I could see a reflection of my own face, and that of the man I love. She was soft and warm and cooed and mewed. Sometimes she just smiled. And she smelled SO good. She filled our lives with a joy we never thought we would know.
Eight years ago, it was all about "having a baby" for us. "I want a baby. Everyone else has babies. Why can't I have a baby?" It was gut-wrenching to wait and wait every month to see if we were going to get our "baby."
But that was eight years ago. Those baby days? So fleeting and fast. I look back now and hardly remember the midnight feedings, the little onesies and the tiny little socks. Diapers and bottles are just a distant memory.
Funny thing. Our little baby turned out to be so much more than just a baby.
She is now a beautiful, precocious almost 8-year old. She has a new best friend every day, plays Slugbug, and knows all the lyrics to all the songs. She has spelling tests at school. Good gosh she's got the Beiber Fever, and she's infected me with it! We talk about bullies and college and boys, because talking about things now will make talking about things later so much easier.
In there somewhere is a glimmer of that tiny baby we brought home, but I only catch it when she is very very tired or not feeling well.
My mom reminded me yesterday of just how far we've come from those early baby days when she asked about Mr. Duck, the security animal LittleG counted on as a toddler. She rarely asks for him anymore, but when she was very very tired and not feeling well last week, it was Mr. Duck who helped calm her and get her to sleep.
It makes my breath catch in a way when I realize now that it wasn't about having a baby. We did that, finally, and she was a perfect little baby. Seven and a half years later, she is a perfect little 7-year old, even if she's the tallest in her class and wearing a size six ladies shoe.
I wish that I had known then what I know now. It's not about the Baby. It's about the Life you create...a tiny little child who grows into a petulant toddler, then into a precocious first grader.
I cannot predict for her what the future holds for us beyond this time and place, but I finally understand after all this time why my own mother has seemed so amazed by my own seemingly normal progression into adulthood, marriage, and eventually parenthood.
For you new moms out there cradling your soft, warm little bundles of joy, breathe in deeply the powdery clean scent of a new life, and open your minds to the Life that is to come. It's going to happen. And you're going to love it.