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A Love Letter to All New Moms

Hallie, my niece, sends me photos of baby Lily. Sean’s and her first.  I am now a great aunt and far from the years of babies in my care.  I am freer - which makes me able to just look and love.  She is perfect.  Rosy lips, bright eyes, and those tiny sweet fingers that open and  close on things.  Those minute fists, clumsy and missing - or spot on and stronger than Arnold Schwarzenegger.   Whenever my Dad looked at a baby’s hands he would say “How can people not believe in God!?”

“How are you all doing?" I text.

And she writes back “Lily is alot!!  But we love her so much!!”

What a difference nine months can make.  Most of us moms know exactly what Hallie means.

Our first, Shane, never stopped moving, nor did he sleep.  The pediatrician told us it was a sign of intelligence.  And we were so tired and so wanting an explanation that we fell for that line.

In more Lily posts - I catch glimpses of Hallie’s arm or shoulder.  She sends movies showing those precious fingers reaching for something - but those damn little chubby arms flailing about and making the fists miss.

These pictures show how it goes.  All Lily.  No more Hallie and Sean.  We are parents.  And like boring thick hostas: we plant ourselves sturdily around these flowering dogwoods.  Keep the soil moist at the base.  Let them shine and grow.

There is a period, as a mom, that we are known as Shane-Dillon-Rory’s Mom, Lily’s Mom.  We don’t show up in the photos.  We lose our names, we lose our favorite sweater to erp up, we lose our loopy earrings when they pull them out, we lose our layered cut to a ponytail so they will quit grabbing our hair, we lose our minds.

I know that Hallie will get together with other moms and babies and she will study those moms.  Marvel at the ones who keep their names, at the ones who don’t bat an eye, at the ones who laugh through it all.  Moms can be envious, for sure, but mostly we are information gatherers.  On the search for the best soil - or fertilizer - so to speak.  Or sometimes, more than not, in need of lattices or trellises.

Shane’s little fingers opened like dogwood blossoms and he grabbed his own bottle soon, or my hair, or a silver hoop earring that was never again seen, or my nose in the middle of Church one Sunday screaming so loudly with delight that you would have thought God himself had appeared in our hard brown pew.  God wouldn’t have found a place to sit amongst the diaper bag debris, pacifiers, the burp cloths, all the hope.

I remember that Sunday and how I had to pry his fingers off my nose.  My nose had  scratch marks on each side that drew a teeny bit of blood from those finger nails that I was so afraid to cut. I remember the old ladies who stopped me after church laughing, saying the dreaded “Enjoy every minute!!  It goes by SO fast!!”

I won’t tell Hallie this.  After all, everyone knows this; we just don’t always know it at the right time. I will text her and tell her that Lily’s fingers are like little pink blossoms.

Happy Mother’s Day Hallie and all Moms and all my Other Mothers, and to all my Trellices and Lattices.

Shane got some fist grabbing payback when Rory came to town.

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