Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A smile from Sophia

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.


julie said...

Dammit, girl!! What did I tell you about making me cry at work?

You're going to be a great mommy. One year from now, you'll be a seasoned expert at holding babies. And hopefully right about then you can be calming my fears about being an expectant mother.

ajandmac said...

i can't wait till jerry gets to hold a baby too. you guys can just be awkward-baby-holders together. stellar.

gora_kagaz said...

aww...that's so adorable.

Tiffany said...

Aww, you gave me goosebumps! How sweet :-)

Jennifer said...

I remember the first time I held my oldest daughter Yuna. I was terrified I'd break her. The good news is you adapt quicker than you'd think and within a day or two I was totally comfortable. Of course... then comes the horrible fear of the first bath in the sink/tub. You think holding a tiny baby in your arms is tough? Imagine them all wiggly and wet and slippery with soap!

Someone once told me, no one is born a mommy, being a mommy takes experience. So its OK to be nervous about this sort of stuff, and like you said, its things like the little smiles that make us know its all more than worth it.

You are going to be a fantastic mommy and I promise, holding the baby in your arms will feel like the most natural thing in the world once you get used to it. Pretty soon you'll be a seasoned pro like those other women you work with.

Maria said...

I don't have any kids of my own but the first time I was cornered into holding one I pretty much froze up and was too scared to move. After a few weeks babysitting week-old twins you find out they are a lot more durable then you expected.

Marina said...

It was probably gas. ;)

Chelsea said...

Awwww! You're gonna do great!

The Pondering Plainsman said...

Don't know anything about those baby-type humans, but some of the things you said seem to reflect what my mom once said of her experience with, ah--- me!

Like your descriptions, painting with words here.

This rumor about your twins has legs! Your second commenter, ajandmac, implies that they can't wait until Jerry gets to hold a baby too, and "you and Jerry can just be akward baby-holders together." Hmmmm! Unless Jerry is pregnant too! Nah!

Cindi said...

awesome! You're gonna be a great mom, Kelly!

Pauline said...

I know you'll be a great mommy. It took me awhile to even be able to hold my niece, and when I did, I absolutely fell in love with her. I still have a passionate fear I will squish her, but I haven't, yet.

Kristin said...

Oh. My. God.
You're pregnant!
With an alive baby!
I sooooo regret that I haven't been on xanga in 3 months, just for this reason.

Emilee said...

We had a women come in today to school to take to us about sex [it's the Sex Ed. time of the year] and she brought her little 4 month old! She was so adorable, and she told us all stories about the first time she held her, bathed her, fed her, and (yikes!) almost dropped her. But it was so awesome to imagine one day having a baby to call your very own and have so many memories -- you'll be an amazing mother Kelly.

Ray said...

I loved the line, "I can't even imagine what it will feel like when that tiny smile looks like mine or Jerry's." <3

AND, I think it's so great that you're documenting this whole pregnancy thing. It's great because, maybe one day you can let your child read what you went through while carrying them, for nine long months.

Take care, Kelly.

P.S. And don't feel bad, I can't hold a baby for nothing! You'll get the hang of it. The, "Maternal Instinct" will kick in. ;o)

mercurial scribe said...

Yeah, kids are great like that. And once you make a baby laugh! Oh man, you'll do anything to make it happen again. All your insecurities and awkwardness just melts away because... *teehee*... i made her SMILE and GIGGLE!

Glad you shared that little moment with us. :-)