29 September 2009

does it make me a bad mother...

...that I'm not really that fond of my children before they start smiling at me?

It's not, of course, that I don't love them. I do. And the miracle of life is all-present in those first few precious weeks of life. But, that ball of neediness just doesn't make my heart sing.

Perhaps this aversion to the beginning time - the first weeks - comes from Ada Brooks who was, possibly, possessed for the first six weeks of life. She was reminding us all of Linda Blaire. Poor baby - i don't think she was getting enough to eat, and of what she was getting, she was spitting up a good percentage. But then I gave her a bottle and she slept for six hours and we canceled the call to the exorcist.

Some parents love this stage. This period of newness. And on very few occasions, I can see why. Paul likes this stage. "He's just so little," he says.

But what I love is a baby who smiles. Who coos. Who almost laughs. This is when I start to believe that this little ball of cells is going to one day have amazing conversations with me.

One day, when I'm talking to my baby, he just smiles back at me. And in that smile, I see his God-createdness. That smile doesn't happen on accident. That smile points to the potential for glorification. (And then he screams at you, clearly mad, and that reminds of the need for sanctification)

As great as the first, true, non-accidental smile is, it's nothing compared to the constant smiles. Collins is now smiling at me, the dog, Paul, Ada Brooks, Eason - He actually likes us. He wants to be our friend.

And, boy, let me tell you - we are all covetous of his friendship. Even Eason, who's been fairly (and blessedly) apathetic to the little guy, cannot get enough Collins time.

It is an amazing thing - to be given the unconditional love of a baby. Not the unconditional neediness - that doesn't do much for me (see above). But genuine delight. It's probably a bit narcissistic, but it doesn't just inspire happiness in me. It inspires a desire for the best for this little person.

When that little screaming ball of joy is looking up at me in the hospital bed, I'm amazed. Amazed at the miracle that is knitting together a baby in a womb. And I'm motivated, like a Mama Bear with her cubs, to never let any harm come to my child.

But, when he starts to smile at me - to listen to my words - then I start to imagine educating him, instilling good music taste, making birthday dinner for him when he's nine.

It is then, when those smiles start coming, that I look to the future - a future of happiness, discipline, formation. It is then I start to hope for a life worth living for little Isaac Collins.


  1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who felt this way! Those early months were just so hard, but it suddenly seemed much more bearable when he started smiling. And it's only gotten better since then!