When we first learned of our impending grandparenthood, I lamented that I had very little recall of infant behavior. Friends assured me it would “all come back,” but I was still skeptical.
Well, guess what? They were right.
Watching Connor and his parents get their bearings these first few days of life has brought back a flood of memories of my early days of parenthood. I remember how unsure I felt about everything, how I worried whether every little cry or tic or noise was “normal,” how unsettling it was that every day was different and brought some new challenge. How strange it was to obsess over the amount and quality of pee and poop.
But this time is different because I now know all these things are part and parcel of being a baby and having a baby.
Right now on his third day of life, Connor’s expectations revolve around being attached to his mother. Although I had completely forgotten that persistent need to “cluster feed” in preparation for real lactation to begin, I now remember experiencing it and how frantic I felt about it. Could it possibly be normal? Why does the child need to suckle every single minute? Am I going to be a milk cow for the rest of my life?
Most of all, with every difficult moment, I wondered “Is it always going to be this way?”
Of course now I know the answer to that question. Change is endemic to babies and children. Yesterday I was able to sit in a rocking chair and hold this sleeping baby for over two hours, and you can bet I savored every moment. When I was a young mother, I was often impatient with that process, thinking of all the other things I needed to be doing.
But now I know the opportunity for that kind of experience is relatively short-lived. Change will come, sooner rather than later.
Already today, Connor is more awake and alert, expecting more attention. He’s enjoying walking through the house with his Daddy, listening to him retell the Peter Rabbit story, opening his navy blue eyes and trying to focus on the overhead lights, the whirling blades of the ceiling fan, his Dad’s collection of model cars.
Tomorrow will be different too. And the next day after that. And all the days to come.
Today I’m just grateful for the remembrance of my past days of mothering, and even more grateful to have new memories to make with this little one.