Saturday, February 20, 2010


A few days ago I had a memory:

Long before I entered this realm of motherhood, I went to visit family in Cleveland. My aunt's house was full of young kids playing hide-n-seek while the youngest of the troop, Joey who was probably about one at the time, was too young to join them and watched from the sidelines.
In an effort to make him feel included, I walked up and said something in a too-friendly, too-excited tone. He promptly replied by crying. Loudly.
Embarrassed, I high-tailed it to the other side of the room where the more predictable older kids were, mumbling something about how I must have come on too strong.
Joey's mom witnessed the moment from the same room and said nothing. She may have glanced over to make sure Joey was ok but just as quickly went back to what she was doing with no further acknowledgement.

I didn't think of it again until a few days ago, from the vantage point of being a new mother. And I am pleased to report the wisdom--and relaxation-- that was gleaned from its consideration.

When Opal cries, my tendency is to automatically say something like "she's tired" or "she's hungry" seeing as both of those statements are true most of the time. What I have noticed is that adults tend to take it personally when a baby cries, as if they did something wrong. Sometimes that is the case, but most likely it is just a baby being a baby. Honest, expressive, present in whatever she is feeling.

Recalling this scene where I was on the other side of the equation, and remembering how quickly the whole thing passed, is a reassuring thing. Rachel didn't feel the need to explain to me why Joey may have gotten upset. She assumed I, as the adult, understood that this is just how it goes. It wasn't even a blip on the radar.

What shows up on our radar is certainly lessening as time goes on and concerns that Opal will feel fussy are being replaced with the acceptance (and appreciation) of her spontaneity.
But reminders are still appreciated.

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