Henry and me, nine years ago.
The beauty of having many children is that the mania is gone. The near-insane love fueled by fear and momma-bear instincts has waned. With each baby born, it has changed.
It is replaced with a different kind of love: one that is calm, relaxed, still clueless...
This knowledge, the truth that you-know-nothing-but-it's-alright, is so very different from the haunting, frightened love that drives a new mother to read every book on parenting. Or to obsessively check that her newborn is still breathing. It isn't the same at all. It's no more real, and no less equal to that first-baby love. But it is very different.
This love is gentle, it's slow, and it's confident.
This love is born of experience.
This love holds dear the wonderment that comes with each baby. His toes, his tiny nose, his sweet head; all are just as awe-inspiring as the first baby was. There is no less enchantment in a sixth baby than there was in a first. There is almost more in fact--more because you know it simply can not last.
You know soon, he'll big like his siblings, making you nuts and leaving you wondering where in the world he came from. In your bones, you know. It'll be over before you're ready for it to be.
You know you'll be tired forever, and you're fine with that. It's what you signed on for.
You know that you can't love him anymore than you do right this minute, but also that you'll love him more tomorrow, because you've lived it before.
You know that most things work out. You know you are doing your best, even on days when you're not. You know kids are forgiving. They forget your mistakes far faster than you do. You know they love you even when you don't deserve it.
So you move slowly. You marvel at him. You rock him because you know he won't keep. You hold him as close as you can as long as you can because soon he'll be running away from you towards the playground.
You know, if you don't pay attention, you'll miss it.
You know better than to risk missing it.
This love is its own kind of magic.
Frederick, ten days old.