Baby Love

happy mom and baby
I want a baby.

Not a third baby β€” and no, I don’t want your baby (nice try, though).

I want my baby back. The boy or the girl, it doesn’t really matter at this point. Maybe both of them.

Just not at the same time.

For the past few months I have been going through this horrible, embarrassing midlife “thing” where I love babies. LOVE them. And because the stars are aligned or life is really cruel my Facebook and Instagram feeds seem to be overflowing with wee little ones who are sleeping, learning to walk, just born or maybe celebrating a first birthday. Chubby little thighs, the tiniest of fingers and a smattering of fine, wispy hair. The bright blue-eyed babes are especially yummy, as both of mine sport different shades of blue, even into their teen years.

These babies in my stream? Clean slates, all of them. Asking nothing more from you than to hold them, feed them and love them unconditionally. What is simpler and more life-affirming than a brand new baby? It’s a fresh start, a reminder that life goes on. A reason to love yourself a wee bit more than you did. Babies don’t hold grudges, roll their eyes when you ask a favor or leave their socks on the floor. They take a lot of care, but what they give back you can’t get anywhere else. Joy, happiness, that look of I-love-you-so-very-much that you can only get from a little one without a curfew, a driver’s license or a list of chores to complete.

I find myself willing my soul back in time, grabbing frantically for what was once my daily life with babies and trying to remember. To remember how it felt to snuggle a sleepy one right up next to my neck in the early-morning hours when the rest of the house slept. To remember what it felt like to bathe that tiny first baby, so afraid he would slip from my hands and be hurt, or scared.

To remember hearing, “It’s a boy!” and “It’s a girl!” and both times feeling that somehow I already knew who they were, that I could feel their presence in my daily life since those little lines appeared on the pregnancy tests. To remember when they started to dance, to sing and to play pretend β€” and all of it without any feelings of self-consciousness or anxiety. To remember what it felt like to rock in the kitchen with a baby girl on my hip and feel her heartbeat through my hand on her tiny back. To soothe tears, protect, console, teach, or just to be in the moment.

But I can’t remember.

You’re making memories!” people loved to say to me during those late afternoon grocery store runs or endless hours spent pushing a swing robotically at the park. I probably say that now, to my much-younger friends who are just starting their little families. And somewhere, deep inside they get it. They know too, that while their time feels long and routine and boring it will all end faster than they can imagine.

But memories! “You will have all the memories!” they shout. But the memories you make aren’t all solidly defined or outlined as time goes by. Some memories have jagged edges, some are raw and painful and many of your memories won’t match up with how your kids remember them (which is a shock). But then there are moments that stand alone as if a searchlight shines on them, so vivid and defined that you can relive them at any time.

Just rewind.

But other memories? The day-to-day routine, the bath times and the bedtimes, endless renditions of Hop on Pop or Brown Bear, Brown Bear and the countless boxes of mac and cheese I made, scraping the bottom for a few scraps of my own. The “firsts” and the “lasts” for each baby, from taking tentative first steps to losing a first tooth to starting high school.

To graduation, and beyond.

They blur together β€” like a fog that I can’t see through just yet. I comb through boxes of printed photos (yes, my little ones were pre-digital) that span an entire childhood and I can “see” it all. It happened, it was real and we all lived to tell about it. There were camping trips and amusement parks, birthdays and sleepovers, friends, family, beloved pets and favorite toys. I didn’t have a blog or a journal when mine were small. We made videos and took pictures, so we do have lots of great memories stored in boxes down the hall.

But the blur of memory that I have of those 20 years is unsettling to me right now. I honestly thought I would remember more vividly. I worry at times that I am truly starting to lose my memory, one old and faded mental photograph at a time.

But just give me that baby. My baby, either one of them.

If only I could relive a day with my baby girl on my hip, or my baby boy laughing so hard he would lose his breath.

I promise I would remember β€” I really would.

I would just love to hit rewind again.

 

Comments

  1. You know I love the idea of a rewind button. I forget, too. So, so much. Lovely words, Sherri!

  2. I feel this in my gut tonight. (And mine are still very small, in some ways.) I keep telling Ryan my biological clock must be making one final push because I cannot stop thinking about babies lately. Like you, I would love to have a few baby days back with my itty bitty babies.

    • I know, I always wondered about that… how your gut and your heart can feel that there might be one.more.baby. Obviously I don’t want that, but this ache right now is so very real. Thank you for reading, my sweet friend…

  3. Oh my friend…

    I just stumbled across that post I wrote about almost this very thing with Aidan. And it hurts how much the memories have dimmed. I know they happened, but I can’t FEEL them. And I was so sure I would,

    Yes, a rewind button, please.

    • Oh, I need to go and read that… and I knew you would get it. Especially since you have watched them all fly away. Hope you have a house full of noise and energy from those kids very soon. Enjoy your summer. xoxo

  4. Oh wow… I so wish I could just get a day back when any of my kids were babies. I remember the snuggles and kisses, but I don’t remember how it felt. I don’t remember how I felt rubbing their soft cheek or how it felt to carry them around in the sling. I want those feelings back too. Is it sad that I am aching to have grand-babies so I can just hold an infant once again?

    • No, I totally get that! I have a few friends with babies and wish they lived closer. How much would a new mom LOVE to have a few hours to herself, so I could selfishly hold her baby??!

  5. Love this. You captured it perfectly. Mine aren’t that old yet but I flash forward to these moments of them as teens and I see them now, ING their eyes and testing their boundaries and finding their own voice and I long for the days of smiling wonder because they found their feet or are just happy to see me because I’m mama. They grow up too fast.

  6. Stupid auto correct. ING? No, rolling.

  7. I feel this so hard.
    I want a rewind button too.
    Pass the remote.

  8. So I already commented on Google +, but who reads that anyway? So I’m re-posting here:

    oh my goodness, you struck a chord, Sherri. Waterworks over here. I already know I’ll miss these moments so much, and I’m right in the thick of them!! Thank you for writing this, and so so beautifully.

    And you know, your kids, even if right now they don’t remember, they will. They’ll want to take some things back, they’ll want to apologize a hundred times over, they’ll want to say “thank you” for every single little thing you did- even if you don’t remember. Some day. Maybe not now, but they will. I know I do.

    xo

  9. Great thoughts! Oh I LOVED and savored every moment of babies in my home but I also love moving forward. Luckily I have a much younger brother to fill in that long gap before grandchildren so I get to enjoy babies all the time still.

    • Oh, that IS a good way to bridge the gap between babies and grandchildren! And yes, Imlove moving forward too…can’t even imagine actually starting over right now!

  10. It stinks that we can’t get that time back. So, I’ve become that person who hogs other people’s babies and gets new puppies at an alarming rate.

  11. Ouch my heart. I’m only 6 years in but I already have the fading memories. Thank you for the inspiration to go gaze at their sleeping faces one more time tonight.

  12. Oh man. This post is killer.

    My kids are still little(ish) but I feel like I am losing my grip on many of these memories as well. Sure, they are well documented but that doesn’t mean they do not still fade.

    Yesterday I started tearing up during a damn Johnson’s & Johnson’s commercial where the mom was bathing the baby… I do miss these moments too Sherri, I so know what you mean.

    Beautiful words and memories. I wish I could go back sometimes too…

  13. Sherri, your post struck a cord with me. I just returned from visiting my kids in NYC yesterday and they are all so grown up. I was thinking – where has the time gone? I so happy they are happy adults, but really – where has the time gone?

  14. Every single word of this.
    Truth.

    I thought for sure I’d never forget a second of it. And there are some things I happily surrender to the blur (the fatigue, frustration, repetition, boredom, struggle).

    But the things I wish to remember in breathtaking detail?
    They slip into the fog, too.

    Except this one thing: I remember rocking with Jack when he was a baby, holding him in my arms, looking down at his sweet face and thinking “You have this moment. No one can take it away. You will have this forever no matter what happens from this second forward.”

    I do. I still have that moment and it’s pretty crystal clear.
    So tell me how guilty I feel that I don’t have one of those for my daughter.
    Sigh.

    Motherhood. It’s wonderful wreckage, isn’t it?

  15. I find myself wanting a baby, but I don’t want my son to be a baby again. I want to experience everything again and see what goes differently. And I think my son would be an awesome big brother. But for now I’ll wait. And enjoy all those Instagram babies. πŸ™‚

  16. I would love to have my babies back too.
    I am so blessed with 13 grandkids and they seem to be growing faster than their parents did.

  17. This is just beautiful. You capture what motherhood is for all of us. Or at least should be. I love babies too… but especially my babies. I am so grateful that I got a second chance to have one. Lucas is amazing and Lola is a miracle and together they are both magic.

  18. Oh yes. Some days I miss mine so much that my arms ache from the memory of holding them for hour after hour. I would give anything to be able to sit in that rocking chair one more time, their downy heads tucked under my chin, while I sang them to sleep. Those days are so precious. And so short.

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