Posted on | February 17, 2012 | 2 Comments
At lunch today, I am going to visit a friend from law school. She graduated a year behind me and is married to one of my best guy friends from the three best years of my life. Several weeks ago, she gave birth to a brand new baby, and today I get to meet her… a sweet little girl, who I know will win me over just by being new, and sweet, and tiny.
There’s something about new babies… something about the smell and feel of a warm, tiny body cradled in your arms… especially after you’ve become a parent yourself. Being in the presence of someone’s brand new best gift ever takes you back to when your best gift ever was brand new, and soft, and full of the promise of life and future. Babies are a wonderful reminder of what is right and good and special about our world.
This morning, I sat on the sofa next to my baby… not so much baby as toddler… and thought about how different my life would be if he had never arrived. I thought about where I would be, who I would be married to, and what I would be doing.
And to be honest? It made me laugh.
I thought about the person I was before I became the mother I am. I thought about how she dressed and how she spoke. I thought about who she wanted to be and what she wanted to become… and it just made me laugh. That girl, that silly, vain girl, could have never imagined the beauty that comes with being a mother. The girl I was believed that true beauty was on the outside… she could have never guessed that true beauty lay in the warm depth of a burgeoning life. That girl would never have appreciated the hundreds of curls tucked under her arm or the soft sweetness of hearing a voice you created tell you he loves you.
When I think back to what my life was like before J, I smile. I smile and remember that nothing, no one, and no place is greater or more special to me than these things, this person, and this home that we are creating. The girl I was could not have dreamed the woman I am. She could not have closed her eyes and found me, not in a room of few or a world of many. She could not have picked me from the crowd if I’d asked her to.
Because having a baby, creating a life… it changes you. It changes you in all the best ways, moving your heart onto your sleeve, your dreams into curls, your love into form. Having a child is knowing, without fail, that for the rest of your life you will never be whole… there will always be a part of you, a warm, sweet, smiling part of you… that is separate: living his life, his dreams, his world.
The girl I was could not have appreciated today, could not have wrapped her head around the thought that going to see a brand new baby would be anything more than an fun side trip on the road to somewhere else.
She could not have known, as I do now, that life begins and ends and does its living all in the moment that a brand new baby is placed in your arms.