At my high school graduation my nephew was 4 weeks old. I have a vivid memory of my sister asking me to hold the baby as she showered. I reclined on my parents bed with W on my chest. Before that he was cranky, I shusshed him, then laid back. He passed out on my chest and the oxytocin flowed through my body. At that young age I knew one day I would be a mother and that I would love this baby forever. I lived with him for the next 18 months but although I was in a confused place, W was the light at that time for me. I waited 18 years to become a mother, but I that baby is now a MAN of 27 years old.
When my nephew C was born I was not in a great place. I was depressed. Studying something I never wanted to study not knowing how I would ever survive in suburban Philly. When my nephew C was about 6 months old my brother in law was very sick and in the hospital. I stayed in the same room as baby C. I was in charge of the middle of the night feeding. I got up and gave the baby his bottle. He was just so happy to see me and his smile that night is the smile I get from him today. I fed him and I cuddled him on the bed. We both drifted off but co-sleeping was discouraged by my sister and I forced myself awake and put the baby back to his crib although I wanted to hold his small body and sleep the rest of the night.
I remember my sister was in the hospital a long long time with my niece since my sister’s water broke at 23 weeks. She was in the hospital until she was 35 weeks pregnant. At this point my sister hated who and what I was, although I had already met Thorazine and my husband, who she decided she hated, but then again she loves him now. My memories of Ms. V come when she is 5 years old. Again her Dad is sick and she is helping me get ready to move into the first house we were buying. I remember her little voice telling me that she was scared and wanted her Mommy. I laid with her and loved on her that night till she slept. I turned her on to singing, swimming, and all the things she loves which tickles me. Although she has her father’s dark coloring she has my chin. I love it since she is the only niece I have.
Ms V is in Maryland at college, W is moving to South Carolina after spending most of this year as my neighbor, and C left yesterday to work in Europe. In one month two of my sisters babies moved far away.
Tomorrow we are having my neighbors and some friends over to say goodbye to my nephew W on our deck. My kids adore him because he is has been around for a while. He has volunteered for the swim team this summer and has been the only person who has watched them overnight. C left the country without a visit although I know he wanted to visit my unwholesome chaos Thursday night. We will skype soon. Ms. V was in my driveway last week chasing her cousins around. She is 20, they are not quite 9 and 7. They related on some wild plane and it was amazing to watch.
Tonight I helped Aaron organize his books. He found in his closet the Ocean Wonders Aquarium and insisted we play the music while we cleaned his room. I remember I first saw the aquarium at the baby store when I was pregnant with Ryan. I was 37 years old when I got pregnant with Ryan, and after heavy bleeding in the 11th week, I had a great pregnancy but it was scary. I would go to the baby store and call my husband crying in a hormone induced frenzy that the baby would never arrive safe. My husband used to reassure me that I was over thirty five weeks pregnant and the baby would probably be fine. The dumb aquarium moved effortlessly from Ryan to Aaron’s room after Aaron’s risky pregnancy. Aaron hated his crib and was the ultimate co-sleeper. Although Ryan played with the aquarium more, Aaron had it last.
Tonight as the canned music played I had all the above jumbled in my mind. Man, that Aquarium sucks, it signals the beginning of the end of all parenting. As cliche as it sounds all the babies in my life have grown way too fast.