I got word this morning that my niece and her husband are in the hospital working on the delivery of their first baby....a little girl. Yippee! She and I have been communicating through most of her pregnancy with the help of Facebook. I've been able to answer her baby-related questions, see pics of her growing belly, and laugh with her about some of the indignities of pregnancy. And now her big day has arrived. If things move along quickly, my niece will be someone's Mommy by nightfall. The excitement and anticipation are making my liver itchy! (Stick with me, people, and I will show you how much fun it is to make this stuff up.)
To say that my thoughts have been consumed by the delivery is a huge understatement. I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for the news and pictures. I'm hoping my nephew-in-law (made that up, too) is so excited by fatherhood that he immediately wants to post some pics on Facebook!
As a mom, I identify with my niece, of course. I've been in her shoes...four times. But this time is different. While every baby is welcomed, loved, and adored, there is only one "first". This first child will make her a mother. I could say that this transition is life-changing, but those words are woefully inadequate. Honestly, there aren't enough words in our language to describe the journey into motherhood.
She will never love another person in the way that she will love this baby. She will look down at her and be astonished. Speechless. Head-over-heels. She will nuzzle the sweet baby cheeks, kiss the wrinkly feet, inhale the sweet smell of her hair, and tears of joy will fall.
She will do weird things like clean her daughter's face by spitting on a tissue and using it like a washcloth. She will do even weirder things like wiping her daughter's nose with her own shirt when no tissue is available. She will develop the iron stomach necessary to not gag when Little Girl develops an stomach virus, complete with projectile vomiting. This iron stomach will also allow her to continue a meal just after having changed a grosser-than-average diaper.
She will laugh when the baby sneezes and sprays a mouthful of pureed carrots on the wall. She will yell at inappropriate times and immediately feel the sting of shame and guilt. She will be stunned into silence the first time Little Girl says "The Pledge of Allegiance." She will experience new heights of happiness and new lows of anger...all within the same 30 seconds. She will watch her husband become a Daddy. She will come to realize that a bowl of cheerios and a plate of apple slices are perfectly acceptable as a quick meal for a hungry toddler (and for a hungry Mama, for that matter). She will love her child and she will love being her mother, but there will be days when she hates the isolation and the tedious nature of motherhood. She will wonder what she did in her lifetime to deserve a gift as perfect as this little girl.
Good luck, April and JJ....All of my love to you both and to your Little Girl. She's a lucky baby. And you're lucky parents.