No perfume review today, as I’m anxiously awaiting a call from my brother, announcing the safe arrival of his firstborn. Today also happens to be the birthday of my youngest child, whose nom de blog will henceforth be Taz, for obvious reasons. (I considered, and then rejected, Genghis as being a tad too bloodthirsty for this affectionate whirlwind.) His older brother – whom I’ll be calling Gaze – is a little disappointed that this cousin won’t be arriving on his birthday next week, as we’d been told was a possibility. Their older sister, Bookworm, is torn between wishing for a girl cousin and wanting to be the only granddaughter on that side of the family.
Therefore, of course, as a mother I’ve been dwelling on the miracle of a new baby. (I’m aiming for philosophical rather than sentimental here, but please forgive me if I roll all the way down the hill.) I don’t mean the miracle of reproduction; every plant, animal, and insect on the planet is set up to make copies of themselves. And I don’t really mean the miracle of birth, that most of the mammal babies on the planet manage to extricate themselves from the birth canal without damage to themselves or to their mothers. You see it on Animal Planet all the time (especially if Taz has control of the remote)! I don’t even mean the miracle that all that complex genetic code gets read correctly, producing perfectly healthy human babies, so often. How amazing is that?
What’s miraculous, and a little eerie, about a baby being born, is that the baby changes from the Imagined Baby into its real self. Before it’s born, a baby is UNLIMITED POSSIBILITY.
It could be a girl or a boy, or it could look like its father, or its mother, or Great-Aunt Doris… it could have Dad’s eyes, Mom’s chin, and Grandmom’s fingers. Or Dad’s feet, Granddaddy’s jawline, and Pop’s eyebrows. Mom’s musical ability, Aunt Amy’s artistic skills, Aunt Ellen’s gift for compromise, Dad’s stubbornness, Bambaw’s talent for making a party out of a cucumber, some pudding, and a cup of apple juice… not to mention some heretofore-undiscovered-among-the-family talent for, I don’t know, synchronized swimming. The kid in there could be the next great left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, or the scientist who discovers a cure for cancer, or the greatest American novelist of all time… the possibilities are literally endless.
(I acknowledge that Kid could also be a future Skid Row bum, among other unpleasant things, but we prefer not to entertain those possibilities, and I’ll thank you to not kill my buzz.)
At the moment of birth, when Imagined Baby turns into Real Baby, we parents feel an unexplained sadness for all the things this baby could have been – but isn’t. The universe shrinks to the size of something that fits in newborn-size jammies, something noisy and rather damp, something that keeps us awake at night. But very soon, the joy at what this baby is grows much larger than the diaphanous regret for the lost possibilities, and we’re caught up in everyday miracles: the perfect rosebud of this baby’s mouth when she sleeps, or the steady, dreamy, regard of his eyes, or the beautiful hazelnut shape of his head.
God bless this baby, that New Universe in a Diaper. God bless the New Universe’s parents.
God bless us all.
Top image: Andromeda Galaxy, posted by clownfish33 at flickr
Lower image: Nace’ un bebe’, nace’ una mama (A baby is born, a mommy is born) by happy-mami (Rebe) at flickr
Update: New Universe is here, and will be living on Earth under the name of Airin. Mama and baby are well and healthy, and dad is very happy! We’re all proud.