How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
Her legs curl up into her belly, tucking and folding, all squishy and brand new. I forgot about the curling. The way newborn legs haven’t yet learned the infinity of space. Hers curl perfectly, like an old love letter that has sat folded through time so that the creases are permanent.
And there’s a tear in my eye because I forgot about the folding. I think back to the hours I spent watching my newborn. Memorizing the lines on his toes and the curl of his fingers. I knew that no camera could capture the endless wonder and promised myself that I would document it all with my heart. I would remember every noise and every scent and every inch of him. But already I forgot the curled legs. How could I forget the curled legs?
Mac’s legs don’t curl anymore. They kick. And they stretch. And they propel him across the room. And it feels like an eternity ago and yesterday that they were curled in the crook of my arm all warm and snuggly.
They are nine months apart. The length of one full pregnancy. She was conceived the week Mac was born. I like to think that he was her good luck charm. Still with connections on the other side, he smiled at his Auntie Valerie as she held him, her heart bursting with joy and envy, and told her that he knew the perfect baby for her. I’ll make a call he whispered in her ear as his legs curled into his belly.
Her mum asks if I’d like to hold her and I jump at the chance. But the handoff is rocky. I know now what she’s doing as she passes her to me. Letting me hold her whole entire world in my arms. Outwardly she is calm and collected but inside she is screaming. Hold her head! Hold her head!
I don’t hold Mac’s head anymore. I hold him upside down by his ankles and tickle his ribs until he’s laughing so hard that he can’t breathe. I toss him over my shoulder and ask his mom if she ordered a sack of potatoes. And then we spin around until we collapse into a heap on the floor. Giggles tangled around legs. Bellies covered in kisses.
It seems impossible that he was ever that little. How do the parents of grown-up babies reconcile the conflicting images of infant and adult? How must my mother feel as her son peers down at her from a foot above?
Time in parenthood is both sped up and slowed down. The hands on the clock dance back and forth. Slow and then fast and then slow again. Hours that are long. Days that are short. Nine months fly and crawl by. And in the middle of it all we stand still. Baby in our arms. Child in our hearts. For a moment the clock stops. The three of us. A picture of our little family freezes in time for just a second. And then the bell rings, the hands on the clock gain momentum, and we are off. The squeals of a nine month old trumpet us into the next moment in time. Slow and fast. Good and better.
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