I wrote this in July of 2010, just two weeks after my son Brice was born.
“…Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain…”
Our lives truly are made from small moments, and piece by piece they are strung together to create our realities. I am going to try to remember it all as clearly as I can. The wrinkles on your knees, your scrawny little neck that can’t support your head. Your dark knowing eyes. Your little old man face. Your expressions. I am going to take these moments and stitch them together in my heart, and let them become a part of me, and change me forever.
When you were born, the Tiger Lilys were in full bloom on front lawns and all over the Wisconsin countryside, blazing orange. The corn on your Uncle Joeys land was shoulder high rather than knee high, thanks to a hot and humid spring and early summer. The fireflies still came out at dusk each night, and everyone was getting ready for the holiday weekend.
It was two weeks ago last night, I was at the festival in Columbus with your sisters. We knew you were coming soon, so we planned to spend the 4th of July weekend doing things together, the three of us. We were going to go swimming, watch movies, check out my cousins softball tournament, watch fireworks, go to a parade. Friday night was the festival, just the start of our girl’s weekend. We shared a huge soda, an order of cheese curds, and then a funnel cake. Your sisters rode the Tilt-a-Whirl, and I sat on a bench and watched. I was so pregnant with you that I had to keep sitting down to rest. Obscenely pregnant, that’s what I kept saying.
I woke up the following morning to my water breaking, just as the first streaks of light stretched across the sky. I knew that it was the day that you would be born, but I was in labor for hours. More than twice as many hours than when I had your sisters, combined. At one point I rested, napped lightly, and I dreamt that I was telling you a story. You were still high up in my belly, and I told you stories about how everyone has to find their way. How baby birds have to peck and fuss to break out of their eggs. How caterpillars have to wiggle and squirm out of their warm and safe cocoons, and baby kangaroos have to find their way right after birth to a warm pouch to grow in. That everyone has a journey to make. And that I loved you, and would still be right there when you got to the other side.
Even after so many hours, and so much time pushing, you stopped at the door. You gave everyone a scare. But as soon as you were born, I knew that you would be fine. I looked at you, still a purplish blue color, your head swollen and bruised, and I could tell that everyone else was worried, but I knew that you were fine. You were just taking your own time, doing things your way, just like you had done all along. Your sister Georgia cut the cord between us, and you turned pink within a few minutes.
After you were born, when they handed you to me, you looked up at me with the darkest eyes I’ve ever seen. We had just officially met, but I knew you already. We passed you around the room, to your sister Holly, who passed you to your sister Georgia, who passed you to your Grandma, who handed you off to your Aunt Holly. If life is made of small moments, they create circles that come back around. We had all been waiting just for you.
Two weeks ago right now you were still in my belly. And now you’re here. In my living room, in my bed, in my arms. And now, I can’t imagine a time that you weren’t here. That you weren’t a part of our family. I know that there are people who don’t like the tiny baby stage, who can’t wait for real little smiles, heads that don’t need to be cradled, goofy little belly laughs. But I love the tiny baby stage. I find myself whispering “Stay little. Don’t grow too fast,” into your tiny little ears, almost begging. Already, two weeks of life have passed in the blink of an eye. Already, without leaving my sight, you have grown a quarter of an inch and gained three ounces. Already you are getting bigger right before my eyes.
You are the baby that I didn’t know I wanted, that came to complete our family, where no baby will come after. I know this, so I try to soak it all up like a sponge. The only sadness I feel in all the world right now is the knowledge that you will only be this tiny right now. That you have grown and changed already. I want to push a pause button, so that I can memorize your noises, your little bird mouth, your long toes and fingers.
Between your sisters and I, we have taken over a thousand pictures of you in the past two weeks. We pass you back and forth, a constant stream of kisses and cuddles and loved ones for you to nap on, and you almost never even fuss. I’ve heard that third babies have often “gotten the memo” that the world does not revolve around them. Maybe it’s that, or the fact that you are so fawned over that you have no reason to cry or complain. I’d like to think all babies are loved, but I can’t imagine a baby being more loved that you are.
You are an unbelievably mellow baby, fine with lying on your own, but I lay you down only when I have to. When I pick you back up, I whisper “I missed you. I missed you…” into your tiny little ears. You are the baby I don’t want to put down.
So in this moment, I won’t. Not until I absolutely have to.
Welcome to the world, Brice Eli Roth. 6 lbs 7 ounces, 19 ½ inches long. Born July 3rd, 2010