When I'm With You

  • 10/14/2018 11:00:03 PM

    A new baby naturally introduces a flood of new emotions, for the parents and everyone who's lucky enough to be part of the baby's life: joy, expectation, anxiety, fear, frustration, love.

    When I held Lilypad for the first time I felt relief that she got here safely, fear that I would hold her incorrectly, and immense and unspeakable love. Everything we'd been planning for had happened, and now she was here!

    When I went visited Jon and Lynn for the first time after they returned from the hospital, I felt helpless. On top of having a new baby, Jon was going back to work and Lynn was adjusting to her post-baby body. They were also in the middle of moving to a new place across town (and, funnily enough, closer to me!). I brought lunch and helped pack a few miscellaneous items. Still, I felt like it wasn't enough.

    But when I held my precious niece, I felt calmer. The world felt simpler. All she wanted was a nap, a maybe a nappy change afterward. Truly, all they really needed was a roof over their head and lots of love.

    And they had--and have--that in abundance.

    Several weeks passed. School started for me, and I was caught up in an endless swirl of classes, club meetings, essays, exams, university excursions and hangouts with my non-parent friends.

    I enjoy my life. I wouldn't change all the things that brought me here. Yet sometimes I desperately wanted to be with my niece.

    Jon and Lynn have always been good about making me feel included. Ever since the birth, they've kept me up-to-date on all her little accomplishments by sending Snaps or texts. I got to see her second smile (Lynn got caught off-guard by her first), her kicking during tummy time, her watching "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for the first time. (She coos when Quirrell comes on-screen, which we find hilarious.) My auntie-in-arms, Rosie, also sends me pictures and videos when she babysits.

    Yet I couldn't ignore the FOMO that came from being apart: "She's my niece, too! Why do I have to write essays and fight for a parking space, instead of cuddling or playing with her?"

    (Of course, my preoccupation with her cuteness forgot all the stinky, messy, tiring things that come with watching an infant. If we're being honest, I've got a pretty good gig going here!)

    So when I managed to carve out some free time yesterday, you could practically see the delight radiating off my skin as I drove over, skipped up the drive, and got to see my beloved niece.

    Lilypad, I can't believe you're two months old now. Your long body takes up my entire lap now; hard as it is to believe, you were barely an armful when you entered this world!

    You're smiling and starting to vocalize. Your eyes have darkened to a beautiful midnight blue. You're wriggling like a little monkey. You're enchanting, and absolutely enchanted with the world.

    You grasp my finger and my heart skips a beat. When you whimper in my arms, my heart breaks a little. And when you laughed at my silly faces for the first time, my heart grew three sizes!

    (Someday you'll be old enough to understand my pop-culture references.)

    When I'm with you, my world becomes more hopeful. I see the passing of time not as a curse, but a blessing. I'm so incredibly thankful to both God and your parents for every moment I get to spend with you.

    When I'm not with you, I hold myself over with pictures of you saved on my phone. I show them to my friends, teachers, and classmates. I rejoice in your beauty and achievements from afar. I collect books we can read together, and think about all the places I want to take you traveling.

    (And, of course, I do all the non-baby activities that bring me joy. What, you don't think aunties have their own lives?)

    But most of all, Lilypad, when I'm not with you, I wait patiently for the moment we're together again.


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  • andyam736 said at 2:51 pm on Feb 16 2019
    That’s only because I have a lot of feelings! XD
  • Zeldsrose said at 3:08 pm on Dec 1 2018
    You capture the emotions so well