One last smooch on a chubby little neck. One last wave of dimpled little hand. Four days Pops and Nana were stand-in parents while the real ones photographed a wedding in Cancun. “She’s the happiest baby in the whole wide world. But even so, I don’t know how you do it.” They returned late last night, just in time for Kiana’s birthday. And their little girl is all smiles this morning, her Mama and Dada are back. Both parents rise early, sun-kissed and sleepy, and I say it again, “I don’t know how you accomplish so much.”
Like blogging. Kiana blogs weddings, and I blog Boy Mom, and let’s just say, I tried to do it. Every day. A few sentences written during nap time. After cleaning the kitchen, and making the bed. Showering, maybe. A quick load of laundry. Computer open. Brain muddled. Add bananas to the shopping list. Type a few scattered thoughts, hit save for later. And it’s time to prep the next bottle for lunch…
She wakes every morning at a quarter-past six, my auto setting for phone alarm and perfect timing. I heat up a bottle while brewing the coffee, Maisy wondering what’s taking so long. She looks at me worried, and I know what she’s thinking. You’re not my mama – like a line from a favorite picture book. “Your mommy says you usually snooze for another hour,” I tell her quiet, bottle empty, nookie and blankies back into crib. But this is not normal, and Maisy knows it. She howls and I think, “What can it hurt?” So Nana and baby hammock-snuggle those few extra minutes, my hand on her chest, her chubby fingers wrapped around mine. Wispy blond hair, tall and tickling my neck. We rock while she dozes, me praying and savoring priceless devotion. I think of Kiana, and other young mamas, and how this might be the extent of those Daily Devotions. A quick Word, maybe, while cuddling baby. The women will be saved through childbearing… it makes perfect sense, somehow, just now.
So much joy and so much life. Every day our little girl greets us, sunshine smile sporting new bottom teeth. She’s crawling now, a world to explore. Busy like her Dad is Pops’ prediction. We once dubbed Grant our Energizer Bunny, a name likely suited for our daughter-in-law, too. A quick text message sent to Grammy Ruf, all us Grands agreeing, it’s a good thing God gives babes to the young parents.
Maisy’s all smiles as she watches for doggy, scooches close to grab a tail, Maple responding with a lick on the cheek. Neither quite knows what to do with the other, curious and cautious. But later at highchair their friendship is sealed, sticky hand meeting eager tongue. Kyle takes the leash and I’ve got the stroller for our afternoon outing, a walk to the park. There at the playground two little girls spot baby and puppy, seeking approval from their own mom and dad. “What a sweet little addition,” polite young parents comment without asking. We’re Grandma and Grandpa. I’m quick to set that record straight.
Evening comes and we’ve got two more hours until final bottle and time for sleeping. We pull out toys on the living room rug, read two more stories. Cat the Cat (this book is lame) – and Pout-Pout Fish (Oh, this one’s clever.) Maisy practices her crawling, climbing on and off Nana’s lap. We tickle-tickle, and whisper secrets, baby chuckles, the bestest ever.
Tired of playtime, we curl up with Pops on the comfy sofa. Turn on TV, scroll through Netflix, land on recordings of Planet Earth. Scrunched in close, baby between us, enthralled by the miracle of all this life. Wow, God. I say it in my head, over and over. Mouth hanging open, and how in the world did You think of all that?
All that, and this baby. And now it’s over. Now three with Maple, heading back up north to Minnesota. I keep thinking she’s with us. I say it to Kyle. I can sense her breathing. Hear her making that sound with her cute little tongue. Even at the restaurant where we meet up with the Great-Grands for a bit of lunch. I feel like she’s here.
Back home now. A text from Kiana, looking for keys and the baby wipes. I unpack bags, check on Jimmy, in bed with a fever. Kyle’s at the computer, trying to stay caught up during his busiest season. A call from our realtor, wondering if we’d like to show our house next week?! Prom this weekend, then graduation, and life keeps moving. But I’ll try to remember. Remember to savor. Those sweetest-kind-of-busy days with our precious baby Maisy.