When Our Babies Are Grown…

…we forget how their hair smelled, and their skin, that baby skin. I call it “new human smell.” They keep it for years, and even when they’re covered in chocolate or oatmeal or cereal milk or dirt and dog hair, you can still smell it when you pick them up.

There’s an account on Twitter called UberFacts. I know this because my daughter texted me one day, and all the text said was, “one day you put me down, and never picked me up again.” I was floored! It made me cry, and I asked her “WHA??!” She told me that she didn’t write it, it was on UberFacts and I told her that it might have been nice if she’d said that up front.

But it’s true. One day, we put down our babies and we don’t know it’s the last time. How sad is that? That is SO FREAKIN’ SAD! I told her, “come over, I have to pick you up right now!” but of course I can’t because my back is janky and she’s way taller that me.

A friend said, “maybe that’s why we don’t remember the lasts, because they’re too sad,” and I thought that was a great observation. Then Twitter comes along and reminds you that you forgot something that was really monumental, when you think about it, and you just feel sad.

Not a said post, honest. This is Jonah. I knew his mom and dad; they had me photograph the whole family when Jonah was an even smaller baby. She wanted to have some photos taken of just him this time, so that she could look at them and remember his puffy baby cheeks, and the way he smells all baby, and the uncontrollable giggles and hands everywhere. Before he grows up and becomes self conscious of these things. I think this is a great idea. The first time I held a baby since my own, 20 years had gone by. A friend put her baby into my arms and I was thunderstruck by the smell and the feel, my hands instinctively went to the places where you hold a baby to keep her safe and comforted. My cheek dropped to rest against the baby’s head, and I started to cry. I had forgotten what it was like to hold my own daughter that way, and to have it come rushing over me like a tidal wave, it was just lovely and sad and amazing all at once.

Mamas, pick up your babies and hold them. Try to remember that feeling, and when they’re old to pick up, go pick up your friend’s baby. She won’t mind. You’ll be glad you did that. When our babies are grown, it can be a sad thing to not remember the last time you held her. Maybe it’s sadder still if you do.

Jonah, still being a little.


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