Today, she and her hubby have taken their precious little man home.
I can't help but think back to the day the Man I Married and I took our first little blessing, Jack, home, seventeen years ago.
He was so tiny, under 6 lb, sunshine yellow from the usual post-birth jaundice, and deliciously unaware of how inept his new custodians were.
I remember how impossibly small he looked, like a soft puddle in the bottom of the baby capsule. We drove home slower than a 90 yr old Nanna out for a Sunday Drive. We diverted around pot holes and fussed over whether the indicator was too loud.
We carried him inside. (after I nearly whacked his little head off on the top of the car door jam). We placed him in the cradle. We stood back and sighed. Nine months of waiting, planning, preparing and reading. The baby cupboard was stocked with minute singlets and Babygros, nappies (diapers in the US), mittens and socks. The bookshelves were stocked with What to Expect In your Baby's First Year, Babyhood, The Johnson and Johnson Baby manual, How to Daddy, Babyfoods for Beginners, Parenting for Dummies and Positive Parenting. We had it covered.
The silence stretched for eternity. Now what? After all this time of waiting, he was finally here.
I think that moment in time... was when it all went arse-up, downhill, belly-up, face-planting, hooley-dooley, what were we thinking and what kind of irresponsible hospital lets two totally inadequate, barely out of their teens bring home a baby without even a home inspection!!!!!???
My Mum had come to stay with us the night before the birth and for 2 weeks after. She was wonderful. She was kind. She was experienced.
She rocked, cuddled, swaddled and burped. I worried I'd drop him accidently in the baby bath
She held that angry little boy while he told her his worries, I fussed over how wet a nappy has to be for me to accurately measure his urine output and assess the efficiency of my breastmilk.
She held him on her shoulder as he sobbed in her ear. I sobbed in her other ear.
And then, after two weeks she had to go.
I can remember like it was yesterday, sitting on the couch with her. Mum with Jack in her arms trying to convince me to take him, so she could get in her car and drive away. To this day I can not imagine how her heart must have ached, how badly she wanted to make it okay for me
I wailed "You'll have to take him with you. He doesn't like me". She so gently replied " Oh sweetheart, he does like you, he just has to get used to everything".
She walked to her car, started it and with a wave and a smile she drove away. I have never felt so alone in my whole life. She drove to just around the bend and pulled over to bawl her eyes out.
Of course Jack and I became friends, he has managed to survive to 17.
I discovered that you can allow a baby to cry for the two minutes it takes to get a block of firewood. Contrary to all my expectations, there were no anaphylactic reactions to apples, rice or chicken. He never did get bitten by a snake or stung by an angry swarm of wasps and thus far his little neck is intact in spite of schoolboy rough play.
I walked, waded and doggy paddled through depression. I learned I am not and don't have to be perfect. I learned that kids can eat weetbix for dinner, and a baby does not have to have a bath before 11am each day. I learned to be kind to myself. I learned that my little boy and the three precious girls really do love me, no matter what I do. And once they get used to their crazy, neurotic Mum, it's all okay.
I am grateful we have survived this far. I do not want to go back to the first baby, the uncertainty, the questioning again. I would, frankly, rather staple my head to the carpet.
Yes we survived the first baby. We as parents have raised him. But somewhere deep down there is a little pocket in him, kept especially for his Nanna.
I know it, he knows it and she knows it.
To my Mum, who I know will read this. I love you, thankyou!