Pulling from both Ends
Home we come, and Maeve is already at the door, arms open, calling for me. I pick her up and her strong, wiry arms wrap around my neck like a baby monkey, clinging to me as if I'd been gone for days or weeks. She claws at my shirt to nurse, mouths my cheeks and seemingly tries to climb inside my body to infuse herself with as much me as possible. Her warm body, her closeness, her intimacy makes me almost weep with joy. I never want this to end. Yet I can barely walk from one end of the room to the next without her needing me, and leaving her unsupervised is taking a mighty risk. There is nothing, not one, single thing, that is easy about Maeve. Yet I want to freeze-frame her just how she is, tiny and needy and warm, sticky with dried soy yogurt under her chin, marker in her hair, her little nose wrinkled with a perpetual laugh. She melts into my arms, beautiful, joyful Maeve, and I want her to stay a baby with me forever.
Which way do I want to go? Do I want my children to be big, so I can be easy with them? So I can walk with them, and laugh freely, and play games, and have them accompany me on my daily life? Or do I need them little, where I carve out their life but they dictate mine? I am in both places now, stretched long and lean with babies on four places of the spectrum. They are all amazing. How lucky I am.
But I can't shake the fear of not having a baby ever again. Will I ever love anything again, ever, in my life, as I have loved raising a baby from tiny, mewling, naked bird to walking, talking, thinking creature? What if I never do?