It used to be that we knew everything there was to know about babies in our house. We were veritable baby experts with a thousand baby tricks and a hundred baby books on our shelves and more well-researched opinions than any one household in America.
Then our babies turned into toddlers and all the fleeting discussions about a third passed and then we were parents of elementary school age kids and that was that. Now I ask silly questions like, "Would the baby like some pizza?" and "Do you think she'd like to sit here or there?" not having any recall really about what babies do and don't do. I honestly don't remember. All I wish for is that they feel included. And that they do NOT cry.
Crying, I do remember. Crying I still can't take even for one second.
This weekend I had the chance to spend a little time with baby Lyra, Patience's fourth (and final?) baby. We stared at each other for long spells until someone laughed or the other one smiled. She's something, that Lyra. She watches and waits to see where her dear ones are in the room. She sits quietly waiting for her moment, just in case you're curious to see her sweet, slow smile.
I like to think of babies as new friends. Lovely little people I am just this minute getting to know. I feel responsible that they are so new. I hope they know they are welcome in the world and that the people around them are glad they arrived, just in time. I think of this now when I meet grownups who eat pizza and sit wherever they want without a second thought. Each one of us used to be a tiny baby, I think. Each one of us used to be so fragile, so calm.
I hope you will be gentle and kind to the crying, screaming, not smiling babies today--the one in your house AND the one in your heart. I hope you will think about the beginning when you were little like Lyra and needed the simplest things like someone to sit with you, someone to hold you, someone to wait for your sweet smile. You still need it. You really, really do.