I hold her tiny body in my arms. She is wrapped in a soft pink afghan. Her open mouth is hardly the size of a dime, and the bottom lip hangs loose in deep slumber, exposing pastel toothless gums. Her little head is the size of an apple, just as round and smooth, and her delicate olive skin just begs to be kissed, and I can’t keep myself from getting close and touching her cheek with my lips. She shivers and lets out a small sigh, then is still again, still as death, and the only way to tell she is alive is to listen closely for her tiny breath.
An almost impossible feat with my daughter in the room, drumming on the stiff hospital chairs, opening and closing a musical book, throwing her toys on the floor. She is gigantic in comparison–she has 20 pounds on her new cousin. My girl giggles and yips and she crawls all over the cold linoleum floor, begging for tickles, for hugs, for attention at the ankles of her family members.
I cannot believe that merely a year ago she was the size of the newborn in my arms, a size so small that it seems impossible she is even a person. But she breathes and she eats and she coos and she cries and she poops. She is a person, only just a fraction of the size.
I bounce my new niece gently without actually moving, and I say her name and tell her I love her, but all in hushed tones. She is sleeping soundly and solidly and no one wants to wake a sleeping newborn. We just want to watch her with amazement and acknowledge her perfection.
I pass the tiny baby to my husband, a maneuver we haven’t had to share between us for quite a few months, and we’re a little out of practice. Then I grab my daughter and she stands up on my knees. I hold her little hands, and she sways back and forth, giving me kisses when she gets close to my face. She giggles and smiles, and then she decides to sit down on my lap, and I bounce my knees so she bumps up and down. But then she gets tired of looking at and playing with Mommy and climbs back down to the floor to find someone else to entertain her. She is always moving, unlike her cousin, who lays still and silent in my husband’s arms.
*How did you feel when you held a newborn baby for the first time ever, the first time after having your own child, the first time in a long time? Set your timer and write.*