Last weekend I was in Cleveland visiting family and friends. One of those visits included hanging out at Christine and Erich's house and their three children. The youngest was born in September (great month by the way) and it was my first time to meet her. I love the time I spend with Chris because it always feels like we just pick up right where we left off. Her kids are also hysterical, witty and smart.
Case in point, N~ was putting on the two-year-old charm. He was making me banana smoothies and banana cream pie with a side of bananas with the blender and dishes from his sister's Barbie dollhouse. He set up a tiny plate and cabana style glass for each of us. Of course, we would say "cheers" before enjoying the pretend beverages and morsels of food. And repeat, about four more times as N~ cleared the table and so seriously got into his play of making the meal again. I love how kids will replay over and over a scenario. It is so cute!
But what melted my heart was that as I was holding baby G~ she fell asleep in my arms.
Now, I realize that it was getting late and that it was a time that she would usually fall asleep. However, I have not had a chance to hold a baby that long for an uninterrupted period of time in quite a while. Chris is great because she is trusting and she knows that I love holding babies. She has always been wonderful about inviting me to hold her kids as we are hanging out and gabbing. And as we were talking, I noticed that baby G~ was starting to get a little fussy, so I stood up and gently rocked her as we went over to the kitchen island to continue our conversation. At some point, I felt that shift of when a baby suddenly feels heavier and knew she probably fell asleep. So sweet. I asked Chris if she wanted to put her down in her crib and she said the baby was fine if I was fine because the baby usually nods off for a bit in the evening before her last feeding before sleeping for the rest of the night.
What makes this moment extra special is because baby G~ let me hold her for so long. Long before I was in a place to seriously contemplate starting a family, I had a knack for holding babies. They would smile and coo or fall asleep as I held them. Sometimes a person would warn that the baby might be a bit fussy and did not always let anyone hold them, but many times these kiddos would also warm up to me, too.
Then somewhere around the height of the emotional time of IF, it was like no baby wanted any part of me. And this continued after my divorce. I know there are times that are just plain not good times for a baby to be held (i.e. hungry, over tired, teething, been passed around too much, or just really wanting their mom--all really good reasons). But it seemed like I went on this streak of having poor luck around infants and it kind of hurt my feelings. I felt kind of rejected, not by the baby, but more like from the universe. Was this supposed to be some kind of sign that I was never meant to be a mother? Or was it a signal to tell me that it is just not my time and to focus on other parts of my life?
Interestingly, in my development classes I have read plenty of articles about bonding and the reciprocal relationship between a mother and child. Sometimes it is the child who may have a difficult temperament that can make it challenging for a parent to bond. Sometimes it is the parent's fears that it will not happen that can get in the way of bonding. Maybe something has changed in me and maybe I am in a better place in my life--not just in getting closer to my career goals, but emotionally.
As a friend said to me yesterday--yes I am moving beyond the troubles of my past. It is not about dealing with them or processing them, but that subtle difference of having built enough space between it and my present to be ready to take on the next adventures that I want out of life. I am ready!