May is the month I have babies. Those mostly bald heads enter my life in early spring, squalling, squirming, groaning, hiccuping, and always, always eating. May and the way it blooms reminds me what it’s like to be intensely focused on one thing: keeping the baby alive. Which, if life is mostly how it should be, is a relatively easy job. The baby cries and you try one of several remedies; if that doesn’t work, move onto the next one. And yes, I know, some babies and parents do not have it so easy, but we did, and when I think back on those three Mays of new babyhood it’s a warm feeling of sunny days and breezy nights, my husband and I partnered in ways we’d never yet discovered. Even the older children took on a certain sheen of sweetness when a new child arrived. Like I’m at my best as a mom when I give myself license to treat everyone with attention and wonder.
A friend of mine had a baby a few weeks ago. It’s a lovely baby. When I held her my body fell right back into that rocking motion we all establish within the first few days – this is how you hold a baby, always swaying slightly from foot to foot. And then I gave the baby back and thought that will never be mine again, and I expected to feel a tiny bit sad, and maybe I did, but mostly I felt relief. Because while I loved my babies, the older they get the more I actually like them. I like to talk books with my ten year old, watch my eight year old hit the ball out of the park, and make up silly rhymes with my four year old. (Almost eleven, nine, and five.) (Five!)
So, for me, May is always a happy month because of memories past and memories present. It’s baseball season and it’s sitting in the sun season. It’s time to wander the woods, rake the yard, and groom the horses. It’s time to let my hand rest on those few newborn-sized outfits I keep in my top drawer, and feel lucky, and loved.
Happy May, all you lovely people.