Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Appreciating the baby-ness
I've been a little melancholy lately, bear with me. It started with Max's birthday; I'm having trouble accepting that he is eight. In some ways, his birth seems like a lifetime ago. And yet, certain aspects of that time in my life are extremely vivid, almost visceral. I can picture what it was like to hold him in the middle of the night in the hours after he was born, the night before we first learned he'd had a stroke and I thought sleep deprivation would be my biggest challenge. I can still smell the hospital smell. I can still see the faces of the doctors. I can still hear the monitors going off in the NICU. The one thing that I can't picture is Max lying in the incubator; I've pretty much blocked that out.
I look at the kids' faces a lot lately, searching for vestiges of baby-ness. Max still has it in him. Some of that has to do with the speech challenges, which can make him seem younger than his years, but it's also in his mushable cheeks and sweet smile. Sabrina has got pudgy cheeks and hands and a little belly. They both have such kissy lips. Is it weird to make out with your kids? I do. I kiss and kiss and kiss them.
I spent a lot of Max's early childhood aching for him to mature. I'd wonder endlessly about what he'd be like when he got older. He's made amazing progress, but now I don't want the little kid in him to disappear; I haven't had my fill. I am making up for lost time, those years when I didn't appreciate his deliciousness as much as I could. And could it be I'm a little uneasy? Yes, I think I am. Are his challenges going to be more evident as he gets older?
If your kids are little, I'm begging you: Savor them. Nibble their hands, nuzzle their cheeks. I know you're worried about what the future holds for them. But try so hard to just appreciate them for what they are: beautiful, yummy kids.
Like any children, they are only young once.