"OMG – you have to see the cutest thing the baby does – when she sees that we are about to give her food or her bottle, she opens her mouth before we even bring anything close to her mouth!!!"
That's an e-mail my sister sent me the other day. Her baby is eight months old, and my sis is in awe of her (as you can plainly see). Every single move she makes is literally adorable.
I get a little wistful when I read these e-mails or I hear my sister ooh-ing and ahh-ing. It's because of Max's lost babyhood. I didn't spend a whole lot of time gushing over him or staring at him in fascination. I was too busy looking for signs something was wrong. I was too sucked into a vortex of doctor appointments, therapies and anxiety. I was too distraught to fully appreciate him.
Seeing my sister worship her baby gives me pangs of regret that I didn't savor Max's cuteness as much as I could have. I've said it before: Max was not the least bit cuteness challenged. I look at the photos of him back then, and it hurts me that I was so focused on his future instead of enjoying his chubalicious present.
I had a healthy baby the second time around, and so I got the experience of mothering a "typical" infant. I full enjoy 7-year-old Max—I see a great kid, not a disabled kid.
Still, whenever I'm around new moms, I get that wistful feeling.