I seem to struggle with writing about Malcolm now that he’s here.
When I start to, I just vomit clichés, partly because I really, honestly do love him so much it hurts and different variations of that expression seem to be all that come out. And also because while of course there have been so many challenges that come with having a baby (okay, but really only a newborn because Malcolm is legit perfect right now), I don’t really want to talk about the hard things when I could focus on things like his little wrist roll or the moment he catches your eye and his face transforms with a smile.
Someday I will write about barely surviving the first few weeks or the identity struggles that come with (happily) rebuilding your whole world around your child, but not today.
Because today, my perfect boy is six months old and I can’t quite believe it.
I am constantly grasping for time to stop moving, to enjoy these moments just a little longer before he changes yet again, but nothing could be more futile– he changes every single day. With each change, both slow (his eyes inching further from that just-born blue and deeper into a beautiful hazel) and fast (the day he finally noticed Ella and became obsessed), I find I love him even more, bounding past what I thought the limits of my love were.
A new tiny little act from him can suddenly shatter me—like the time, after weeks of fussiness at yoga, I started putting him on my mat, and he stopped getting upset, as long as he could put his little hand on me. Or the time I put him in the crib (I thought wrongly) asleep to walk out to the monitor and see him turning on his side as far as he could go to look for me at the door. I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve a love like this (was it working for Obama? JK JK, but maybe?) and the strength and purity of it overwhelm me.
I know that sometimes I let him down already. Like when I forget Hillary’s sage advice in the It Takes a Village picture book, “The world is in a hurry, but children are not,” and get aggravated when he just won’t hurry up and finish nursing so I can watch the stupid Bachelor which I hate anyway so I can recap it and go to bed. Or when I’m reading Harry Potter to him and then I stop reading out loud so I can get ahead faster and then 10 silent minutes later I finally pop back into reality. Or, you know, real things like when I have to put him down, crying and walk out of the room to breathe because I just KNOW he knew he was hurting me when he bit me to tell me he was done nursing and looked at me all proud of himself.
But mostly I think all he knows is that when he’s upset, someone will comfort him, that when he needs to cuddle, there’s a queue of people who love him waiting, that when he’s hungry, he will eat, that when he poops all over everything, someone will laugh with him, that if he smiles at strangers, they will stop and gush, and that every morning his dad will wake him up dancing and every night his mom will put him to sleep with too many kisses.
To celebrate this special half birthday, I was thinking about my favorite things about him, but really I just keep thinking about the aching feeling I get almost immediately after I put him down for the night and know I won’t see him for hours and the rush of wholeness I feel when I walk in to see him in the morning.
I know that even as I sit and panic about having already watched his first six months fly by and not being able to imagine him as the tiny little creature who came into the world, that, like every day since July 23rd, it will just get better.
With each of these new days, parenting becomes both scarier and more natural. That’s really all I’ve learned about parenthood—there will always be more things you have no idea how to deal with to juggle and yet somehow, the love will always catch up.
Each new week, we take a picture of Malcolm to mark how many weeks he is on Sunday. Each new picture seems the same as the one before, and yet somehow, the transformation from week one to week 26 is remarkable.
I guess that’s how this will always be watching him grow. God, I’m lucky.