Baby B, you have been in my heart for months now–even as you’re still in your mommy’s belly. You’re coming soon–and I can hardly wait!
I’m excited to meet you, learn your name. I want to exchange gazes with you–your baby blues will have a wisdom from a place far away. I can hardly wait to count your fingers and gaze at your tiny toes.
My first glimpse of you, I suspect, will be through your front window–me outside, nose pressed against the glass as your daddy awkwardly holds you up towards me. He’s never held a newborn before–it will be something to see!
I may not get to smell that incredible baby smell for months; not have your fingers wrap around my finger for a long time. I may not get to hold your newborn body until your arms and legs start to have those pudgy baby rolls that develop over the first weeks of life.
Someday, when you’re a little older, you will come over for a sleepover because your parents need date night. You will ask me for a bedtime story, and I’ll tell you about a little boy who was born in the middle of a pandemic. We will snuggle and I’ll tell you how this little boy’s Oma cried and cried because she desperately wanted to cuddle him–she wanted to welcome to the world as she held him, but she could only look at him through the window. Your eyes will sparkle as you ask, “Was that baby me, Oma? Was it you that was crying?” And I will nod and we will continue the story about that little boy that is him.
What is now reality will seem like ancient history as we talk about it then.
I can hardly wait for that, too.
These days hold unique griefs for everyone, not just me as I won’t get to meet you the way grandmas have been meeting grandchildren for eons. One of my friends sent her husband off to the hospital in an ambulance a week ago and hasn’t seen him since. She stays the course, holding vigil at home–nurses and doctors do their best to keep her informed. Some folks have been more than 6 months without a hug–and it will be months yet. And, Baby B–trust me–you will have many hugs in your life.
You will understand as much as the rest of us how we all need hugs.
You will have trouble believing the stories I will tell you about how people couldn’t hug one another–but they are true. So many people needing hugs–and not able to give them, or receive them.
Baby B, you are entering the world at a time of suffering and distress. The world hunkers down in their homes. Many are isolated. Some are very scared. I think we’re all stressed.
Baby B, our world isn’t giving you the welcome that you deserve.
Except that your little world will welcome you–with open arms and full hearts. You should see your parents be parents to you now–even before your birth.
Your mommy and daddy stay home, all the time–because you matter to them and they are taking care of you.
Your daddy was handful to raise–trust me! He was a risk taker–I was often chasing him as he ran down the block, or coaxing him off the roof of the play structure where he played on top–instead of under it, in the sandbox. He pursued fun endlessly, and frequently disregarded rules and safety when it would hamper his sense of adventure.
But now you’re almost here–and he’s become your dad. He looks after you by cocooning with your mommy and you. He stays away from everyone to make sure that he can be with your mom when you are born, and that you all will be safe and healthy.
Five or six decades from now, Baby Bergen, you may have a son who becomes a daddy himself–and you will watch your rambunctious little boy transition into a protective parent. It’s a remarkable to watch the one I held now prepare to hold his own. The one who slurped and burped and smiled the toothless gaze as he looked at me will now hold the slurping and burping you. He will look at you the way I looked at him–with awed wonder and utter love.
Maybe, as my boy holds you in his arms, he will understand at a whole new level how he is a piece of my heart that lives outside of my body. I wonder, when he holds you, and feels his heart is ready to burst with the very miracle of the gift you are to him–maybe he will come to understand love in a deeper way. Parenthood does something to a person. My boy changed me as I learned about loving someone so vulnerable, my heart ached with the beauty of it. I suspect you’ll have the same effect on him.
Hey, Baby B–your dad, if he’s anything like me, is gonna be terrified sometimes when he holds you. Not because you are frightening. Certainly not. It will be because the most important thing your mommy and daddy will do in this life is raise you–and if that doesn’t make a heart quiver with the incredible responsibility of doing right, nothing will.
I remember the way he looked at me, as an infant–all trusting and with utter admiration. Those baby blues looked up and me, and he believed in me. I’m trusting that the way you look into his eyes, the way you believe in him will inspire him to know that he is gonna be a great daddy.
Can’t wait to meet you, little guy,
Love, your Oma