freewrite: on the road, in the world


“oh, he’s so good-natured.”
“oh, he’s such a good-looking baby.”
“oh, look at that smile!”
“all babies are good babies, but… that’s a good baby.”

what does one say to such things? how do you respond to others’ recognition that the universe has given you a gift?

we’re on vacation, and he is easygoing as we ride and wait and fly and ride again, as we traipse from downtown coffeeshop to brewery tour to vegan cafe, in and out of his borrowed seat, in and out of the arms of strangers who smell different, sound different, hold his tiny body in ways unlike his parents do. he takes it all in, eyes that still look both blue and brown wide and watching – a variety of faces, a spectrum of ceiling fans, dogs in every house in which we stay (and cats and chicks in some, too), smoky mountains, mexican restaurants. all over this southern state in which i grew up.

but regardless of where we go, compliments. admiration of his behaviour, his looks.
and what am i to say?
that my husband and i endeavor to maintain an enviroment of calm in our home and lives, that when we hear him fuss we compassionately temper our infinite love with a moment of wait, of weight, of waiting, to see if he can find his own center, his own safety, that we are so very awesomely fortunate?
or that i can hear the envy in their voices, remembering the sleepless nights while we are rested, remembering long fits of screaming while we can usually soothe fussing, let alone screaming, rather easily, remembering marriages stretched to their limits while my husband and i are still without doubt in love?
how about that i continue to wait for the other shoe to drop? even though i am through the pregnancy with minimal discomfort, through the labor that went so similarly to the way i anticipated, the way i pictured it, through the early weeks of newborn delicacy and my own healing, on into the sixth month of his life on the outside, i still wait for the troubling times, sickness, temper tantrums, rebellions, hard drugs.

i still wait for the scales to balance.


3 thoughts on “freewrite: on the road, in the world

  1. “how do you respond to others’ recognition that the universe has given you a gift?”

    I like that question. It is something I’m curious about.

    You’ve pinpointed the reason I am so reluctant to try being a parent–because, inevitably, something has to go wrong at some point. It seems like it takes a lot of love and commitment to work within that knowledge. I commend you.

  2. No, no, no. Just enjoy.

    We had the most good natured, gentle baby, and he found his inner rebel around age 3. The emotion! Over such trivial things! (No, you cannot take a gallon jug of milk to the living room. That’s not done.)

    He is turning 16 now, is still a gentle good natured person, a good student, a kind, funny brother and uncle.

    Just be grateful and enjoy. love, Val

  3. Oh, I love this! It’s such a sweet recognition of the mystery of a baby’s temperament. Is it luck? Parenting skills? A combination of the two plus a little something extra?

    Just say, “Thank you,” and smile. No need to feel guilty or worry about your baby’s sweet nature changing.

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