So the other day I was finally putting into albums several stacks of pictures that had been waiting for... a long time. A few belonged in the album which also contains all of Jameson's newborn pictures, and when I flipped it open, oh my... My heart (and uterus!) literally contracted at the sight of the wee little baby, the soft and fragile skin, the dark, downy hair and curled up limbs. Oh, and that strawberry birthmark over his right eye, which has since disappeared, but that I always used to kiss when he was sleeping.
Jamie, a few days old.
This was not a new feeling, this weird wistfulness. I get it almost every time I look at newborn pictures of any of the kids, and I sat pondering what exactly this odd sensation is- so different than the usual "oh look how cute and little they were!" feeling that other pictures of their younger selves elicit. I think I finally figured out what it is.
It's that I wish I could go back to revisit that brand-new baby time, but knowing what I know now about that particular baby. When I experienced them then, all I saw was the tiny, velveteen creature that just days before had resided within my pelvic cavity and was now either sleeping or sucking away my life forces via nursing and sleep deprivation torture. I of course appreciated the giant, blinking owl-eyes and that amazing smell and the general breathtaking cuteness of it all, but I didn't know THEM, those specific babies, yet, and wouldn't for another few months. I knew them on a primal, animal level of knowing, of course, in the way that every mother knows the baby she has gestated, but I knew next to nothing about their personalities. The sound of their names did not conjure any particular character traits or unique qualities in my mind. And now... now that Jameson and of course the older two are just EXPLODING into themselves on a daily basis, becoming these wonderful little people that I feel so lucky to know, let alone parent, the sight of their newborn selves just means so much more to me.
I am so glad there are photos, at least, and that the sight of their thrilling newness will never be lost to me. That I can look at those old-soul eyes in those fragile, swaddled bodies and think, "Oh! That was you!" Not just the adorable, slightly foreign newborn handed up to me in a hospital blanket, but my Addy, Eli and Jamie. So strange. So amazing.
Addy, a few hours old.