Well, it finally happened. Nearly 9 months of casting a watchful eye on his every move. Filing paper thin baby nails gently, so as not to cut a tiny finger. Combing out the tangles with conditioner and tug-free care. Laying down padding to shield a little head from landing on unforgiving surfaces.
And the worst part? It was all in my hands. Literally. A few days ago, while trying to get Atlas’s snowsuit on his writhing and wriggling body, I accidentally zipped a bit of his skin. He cried for a few minutes and moved on. I, however, am still crying inside because I am clearly the worst mother in the history of the universe.
Ok, so I’m not SO dramatic about the experience, but it was, indeed, a moment of parental growth. For me, creating a family–bringing this amazing third member into what has been a duo–has been filled with more joy than I thought possible. Like “first-kiss-bubbling-champagne-fireworks-across-a-northern-light-filled-sky-specked-with-diamond-unicorns-and-warm-cookies-and-that-green-flicker-of-light-before-sunset” kind of happiness. It’s completely indescribable and so incomprehensibly beyond what I or anyone could ever explain.
It’s also filled with sharp, cold fear. Sure, you’ve always known that life is out of your control…but now you realize that this is also true for this brand new person that you’ve only just met, yet love more fiercely than you’ve loved anything. You cling to the things that you can protect them from because what you can’t is a terrifyingly vast ocean of possibility.
And then you remember that you don’t want them to learn to live in fear. You want them to forge ahead into the world, viewing the unknown as opportunity rather than danger. Discovering instead of hiding. Allowing intuition to guide him someday when mama and daddy let go of his hands.
Next time, I’ll hold him close when he gets a little cut or bruise, then I’ll put him back down and let him move beyond it. I’ll reassure him it will all be ok…and I’ll know that for now, yes, it will.