Hazel Marie made her debut on August 3! One week old today, she is healthy and beautiful.
I had the privilege of being with Lauren, Robert, and Ivy (age 2) for the first five days of Hazel's life.
I have almost no words for the wonder of this new life, brought into the world by my daughter, but I'll try today.
You see, there's this feeling.
I've experienced it three times now, with each new grandbaby, as I looked at both of my daughters with their pink bundles in their arms. Perhaps it's because my girls have had daughters that I've felt this way, I don't know.
Maybe it's a rite of passage.
But I look at Lauren. It's like I'm seeing her through glasses with magic lenses: I see her as the beautiful, grown-up woman that she is, while simultaneously seeing her younger self - the child who loved to draw pictures, and whose hands were always creating something out of found objects. Bits of string, shoe boxes, paper and tape...always lots of tape.
Somehow, I feel her little arms around my neck and remember the stories we read at bedtime and the kites we flew in the field behind our house. Cookies and milk after school, the piles of dishes and laundry that I could never really get control of.
The years of work and love, and confidence and doubt.
I see it all, images overlaying images; some faded around the edges, but still vivid and full of color.
I see myself, too. I see how I obsessed about whether I was doing a good enough job as a mom.
Was I serving enough vegetables? Was I teaching the right life lessons? Did I lose my patience too many times? Making the right educational choices? Allowing her to wear mismatched socks way too often?
My magic glasses fade away, and here is Lauren, holding out her new baby for the two year-old to kiss.
And I know all the years of work, and love, and confidence, and doubt are ahead of her, as well.
I kiss the top of MY baby's head. My beautiful girl, this young mama.
And I press her close. I want to say this, but I can't speak:
All of the wonder is ahead of you, too, honey.
Hold on tight for the ride.
It's wonderful and messy and hard and good. You'll question yourself a million times along the way. You'll stay up late praying. You'll be overcome with joy a million more times.
It will feel like a spinning tilt-a-whirl sometimes.
But listen, don't worry.
Motherhood is supposed to be this way.
And one day, a couple of decades from now, you'll find a pair of magic glasses in your pocket that lets you see the past, and the present, all at the same time.
You'll see how Hazel and Ivy grew into beautiful mamas, and how they invited you to spend the first few days with them and their new babies, because they needed you to help them settle in. You'll marvel at their patience, their ability to watch Daniel Tiger with toddlers for hours, their kindness and generosity and love.
And you'll still feel their little arms around your neck, and be able to see the kites and the cookies, and hear the sleepy whispers at bedtime.
You'll remember your doubts. You'll remember how you sometimes worried, and you'll see now that you shouldn't have.
Because now you see how it all turned out, and the sheer beauty of it catches you, holds you, and leaves you breathless in its wake.
You'll feel so very proud of those kids you didn't ruin with the mismatched sock thing.
You'll see just. How. Amazing. They are.
And you'll feel simply...grateful.
Thank you to Heidi Thaden-Pierce, Lauren's wonderful doula, for the gorgeous birth photos.