There are two things destined to happen on Election Day at a newspaper: a lot of waiting and a lot of pizza.
Last night, the Pennsylvania state primaries were no exception. But during the downtime, instead of playing cards or swapping magazines, we had a visitor. A copy editor I used to work with came in for a brief visit with her 12-week-old daughter, Sophia.
Cindy is now an experienced mother of three girls and had no problem allowing the rest of us to pass her adorable lilac-clad baldy around. The other mothers I work with easily maneuvered her from one position to another, rocking her back and fourth and just handling her in general. They made it look so easy.
"Okay mommy-to-be, it's your turn," my boss said, preparing for a handoff.
"Um, no, nope, absolutely not," I said. "I'm pretty sure I'll break her."
She looked so delicate and small. Even at three months old, she only weighs eight pounds and her head seemed to be attached to her body by a limp strand of spaghetti, not an actual neck. Her head just kind of rolled with the gravitational force. If there wasn't something in the way like a hand or the crook of an arm, it looked as if it would drop directly to the floor, teeny body in tow.
I decided that my hands and arms didn't need that kind of responsibility. Especially not when five other mothers are standing nearby and could easily gang up and burn me at the stake. Or something.
"Yeah, I think I'll pass."
But they wouldn't hear of it. All of a sudden it was a chorus of "You'll be doing this in a little more than five months," and "You've got to try sometime," and "C'mon. C'mon. DOOO IT!"
Before I could protest any further, I had little Sophia resting awkwardly in my arms. Unlike all the other handoffs, she squished up her face in a very "You suck lady!" sort of way, let out a yelp like I was causing her immense pain and squirmed as if the dirty office carpet below would do a better job at comforting her than me.
Then this amazing thing happened: She just sort of stared up at me and smiled.
It was awesome. I immediately relaxed, adjusted her tiny outfit that had gotten bunched up around her neck and just stared at her while she stared right back. I fell in love.
Even so, nothing about it felt natural at all. In fact, it was completely terrifying to think that I'll have the task of keeping one of those alive in a few months.
But man, one little smile and nothing else mattered. Not my fears, not my responsibilities for the night, not even the other people standing around watching me bumble through the simple task of holding a baby.
I can't even imagine what it will feel like when that tiny smile resembles mine or Jerry's.