Perfect little ones
Sunday November 04th 2007, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Life

Back on July 12th, I wrote about the shawl I gifted to the woman at UCSF who was six months along after having had a late miscarriage. Having miscarried my first and worried about my second the same way, it felt imperative to me that I wish her and her baby well with the efforts of my hands. To wrap her in comfort, in my publisher’s phrase.

I’d been wondering the last few weeks… She was due in October sometime…

I got the most wonderful message yesterday. She sent me photos of her new son, just the most exquisite pictures of great happiness of her and her husband and their little one. It completely, totally made my day, and it was so kind of her to think of me, and at the most sleepless time of new parenthood, I’m sure; I remember the days. My husband and son looked at the screen, too, and cooed, “Oh, cuuuuute!”

So then I went off to Trader Joe’s feeling absolutely on top of the world for a quick grocery run, you know, just mundane little stuff on the side. I’d run out of Valrhona chocolate. This wouldn’t do.

There was a young mom there with a small baby in a stroller that she was trying to maneuver through the aisles and between people, carefully. There was a pretty good crowd for a Saturday night. I thought, oh cool, another baby, and let her pass as one of the employees watched the baby go by, blinking cheerfully up at him. He caught my eye a moment later and told me that he was in awe of women who were moms. They had so much to do and to deal with; he was one of four kids himself, and he didn’t know if he could ever manage what his mom had. He hoped someday, when he had kids…

Now, I’ve seen this guy many a time and I’ve never seen him open up like that. He was glowing, just radiant in appreciation, towards his mom, towards every mom, completely different from the busy no-nonsense at-work persona he usually gave off. It surprised me, and I came away with a new appreciation for him.

A few moments later, that mom passed by me again a few aisles down; her baby was about four months, just old enough to be constantly looking for faces, and then smiling in great delight when she found one. And the face smiled back at her! And that one too! Yay! There is nothing quite as powerful as the goodness in a tiny child to light up a place. The whole store got happy. And, having been in the young mom’s shoes, I know how much it means to have strangers respond like that; it helps one cope with the colicky moments that come, too.

At the checkout line, there was a young couple behind me, and she stepped away for a moment to get one last thing. He’d smiled at the baby, too, and he, too, was still smiling. He struck up a conversation with me, and when his girlfriend came back, I ratted him out: “He’s been bragging on you.” He blushed; she was pleased.

There were three 71% Valrhona bars left, and they had all gone into my cart. The girlfriend saw them, and I told her, “Best chocolate on the planet.” She looked on the shelf–but there were no more. I handed her one of mine. She wanted to know how long it took me to eat one, and I answered, “I open the bar and nibble a bit every now and then as I go by; it’ll last me about five days.”

“Yeah, me too!” While her boyfriend was shaking his head with a grin, declaring that he just snarfs the whole bar at one sitting. I told him my hubby would, too. (Although, to be fair, nowadays he’s cut back.)

I was thinking at them, it’s comforting, when you’re new at this relationship stuff and it’s still in the baby stages, to know that other couples approach things differently from each other too but in the same ways as the two of you. It’s just part and parcel of life, and you grow on from there.

Two babies. Two brand new people, and all the grownups whom they made into instant friends yesterday. They’ll never remember. But we can.

6 Comments so far
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I love the feeling that comes along with seeing folks with babies. My 4 year old son loves seeing them, too. He always says, OHHHHHHH, look at the BAY-BE, Mummie. It’s SOOOOO CUUUTTTEEE! It makes me happy that he has the same reaction as me.

Comment by Amanda 11.04.07 @ 4:15 pm

So good of you to knit something for the lady who had a miscarriage. I have had two, hence we only have one child. So wonderful she sent you photos. Babies are wonderful, even the hardest people can soften around them. wonderful you too, you manage to get everyone to open up and feel the joy of the moment.

Comment by Vicki 11.04.07 @ 6:08 pm

It’s amazing how babies are fascinating to all age groups too. My little boy just loves them, as does my 82 yr old Grandma. They are just so special.

Comment by Lisa 11.04.07 @ 7:21 pm

Just want to tell you how much I enjoy the stories on your blog.

Comment by Charlotte 11.04.07 @ 11:19 pm

Alison – It’s wondeful when there’s that much contagious happiness, baby or no. Just writing because of Valrhona chocolate, 71% cocoa. It’s one of my favs, too, and the now-hubby and I mimic you and your hubby on chocolate eating speed! Weird how that happens. btw: your book is lovely. I picked it up on Friday at an independent boook store in Porter Square in Cambridge, MA. Beautiful stories, beautiful shawls. I read them all, finishing in a bubble bath last night. Thank you for publishing. (I have 6 skeins of Knitpicks Shadow (100% laceweight merino (on sale for $2/skein!!! in browns and reds! on the way….))

Comment by Laura 11.05.07 @ 7:49 am

Oh, I love to nibble chocolate, too. Which is I hide my good stuff from the hubby. He scarfs it down without thought to savoring. He’s just as happy with the regular old stuff 🙂

I’ve found often when babies in line are fussy having a stranger say something to them often surprises them out of their fussiness. It helps make the new mother’s day.

Comment by Alison 11.07.07 @ 10:57 am

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