Over the last four years, babies have become very important in my family’s lives. My late brother’s precious lad, Kyson, just turned four, and the little fella should be squat he’s so sweet.
With a missing tooth gap when he smiles (lost by accident following a visit to Auntie Pam’s) and donning his newly acquired glasses, he’s a sight for a heart in need of filling, let me tell ya.
When his mom sends little made-for-us videos, I get goosebumps of joy. While a road trip away, the precious hours I’ve had the pleasure of spending with him are memorable for both of us.
Hearts, souls & minds
And then there’s Kaleb, the three year-old wonder kid who has, thanks to a pandemic, become an honourary Newfoundlander. Minutes away, there’s no lack of Kaleb presence. It doesn’t matter if he’s teaching me to use a screwdriver as he takes down the doors at his mother’s or if we’re outside collecting worms and sticking them places sure to drive his mother nuts; it’s been fun hanging around someone hip height.
He tells me he loves me regularly, and his “no! Pam will do it!” could warm even the coolest of hearts.
But then babies have long had a way of filling hearts, souls and minds. There’s a reason there’s sayings galore, enough to fill a million nursery walls. ‘Your first breath took ours away,’ is beautiful. So is, ‘it was the tiniest thing I ever decided to pour my whole world into.’ No trouble to get a case of ‘the feels.’
And the surprising news is; kids ain’t always sugar and spice and everything nice, not even from the get go.
My son was finally delivered by emergency section after two weeks of on-and-off soul crushing labour.
Ready or not!
The kid missed his own well-planned out up-along, family-flew-in-for-it and all that christening and my father sat on a plane ready to take off back to Newfoundland as the doctor laid eleven pounds of bawling baby into my exhausted arms. He bawled for three months straight. My daughter decided to go the other way. On the day I had a spa morning planned so I didn’t look like the 40 year-old new mother I actually was in the birth photos in two weeks time – you know, wash that grey right outta my hair and all that jazz – she decided she was coming, ready or not! I wanted to cry, but all I could do was be utterly amazed at the little girl I gazed at hours later.
And things don’t change with time. Kids are always unpredictable. My nephew cracked me up the other evening when I was babysitting as my sister worked the last of her 12-hour nursing shift. As he was chasing the cat down the stairs he knocked over a picture on the ledge and came running. ‘Come! I knocked over that scawwy picture!’
I wondered what he was talking about and asked. ‘The scawwy picture of me!’ he explained. I went to look. It was a framed picture his mother had put up of his first ultrasound. I laughed, though I guess he’s right on some level.
Count the blessings
Kids are scary. They take time and commitment and they break our heart with cuteness each and every day.
They are unpredictable from the second they are born – late, early, it doesn’t matter. And as they grow, the only thing that gets easier is loving them unconditionally.
As we face 2021, following 2020, it’s wise to embrace all those many lessons we’ve learned as we’ve loved the many babies in our lives. Face what comes with grace and humour. Smile through the tears. Count the blessings. And when challenges come; be they loosened door screws, a dried-up worm discovered in an odd place, an unexpected missing tooth, or anything else you didn’t plan ahead for, just remember this; like the passing of each year before it, even the wild ride that was 2020 will fade from our memory, leaving only the best little tidbits behind. Like little fingerprints that will eventually fade and stop covering every surface of your home as the kids grow, 2020’s shadow will lesson and hopefully leave us all inhaling deep breaths of hope and gratefulness long into 2021.
Happiest New Year to you all.