All babies are strangers. They come to us, with their mysterious knowledge of the womb, disturbed by our bright world of noise and busyness. They carry a stillness that we aren’t familiar with. They cry, and we have to figure out why. Some babies sleep on their backs, some on their tummies. Mine likes to be held, all the time. You never know a new baby. You learn them.
So this one, who I did not carry in my body, is no more or less of a stranger than the ones I delivered. I remember trying to settle in to Toby’s name, trying it on my tongue for days after he was born, seeing if that’s who he was. He wasn’t, not for a little while.
I’m only speaking for myself, but usually when I do that, people say they feel, or felt the same way, and I imagine this is the same. Loving a baby is very easy, even with their demands and their neediness. They need you, and you love them, and then they love you.
In the morning, the sun is finally up and I look over to see two serious blue half-moon eyes looking at me. This world is new to him, and he’s going to teach me all about it. I put my hand on his tiny chest and he curls his whole hand around my finger. I am his, and he is safe. Now we begin our day.