As I watched my younger brother hold his baby girl a few days ago, I realized how mesmerized we get just by looking at newborns. By staring at those tiny babies we seem to be transported to a better place, one in which there is only innocence, hope and love.
As a parenting writer I am too aware of everything that can go wrong, so when everything goes well, joy and gratitude fill my soul. That happened a little over a week ago and every time I hold my niece, the world seems to stop. I almost seem hypnotized, even if she hardly opens her eyes when she’s cuddled up in my arms. I think about all the adventures she still has to live through, and also realize everything I’ve been through with my own children, who are 8 and 11 years old.
When I hold her, however, I am really in the moment. I focus on her breathing, on her blonde lashes that almost seem invisible, her sighs and the awe of witnessing the miracle of life. For a moment I pause my crazy life, forget about emails and deadlines and just concentrate on what this marvelous baby needs.
That mesmerizing effect newborns seem to have over me perhaps is simply a reminder that with a new baby, you have to focus on the present. You need to stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention to that baby’s needs. Distractions are punished by cries that in the beginning startle you but later guide you to know what you need to do to soothe and protect.
You do forget how tiny newborns are but when you hold them in your arms, it’s a reminder of how everything begins. Of how bonds are created and how your heart expands with love. A reminder of possibilities and blank slates. Of the beauty of the present and the purity of true love.
May that mesmerizing effect help us be more in the moment and realize how much many things can wait, except tending to those who we treasure the most.
Dedicated to my beautiful niece Nicole, who already has filled our lives with love even if it’s just been a few days since she was born.
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