These days are everything and nothing like I pictured.
Sleepless nights and spit-up, followed by snuggles on quiet mornings. You, my newborn baby, are growing, thriving, and changing. But the story of your infancy will also have a pandemic-sized asterisk: Your life began in quarantine.
As an unrelenting world spins outside these walls, white noise fills the quiet space where I rock you to sleep. You grow heavier in my arms each day, while my heart both swells and aches. What deep joy you bring us, while so many loving arms are empty. Many miles and miles away, they wait to hold you. With each month that passes, I wonder if and when they ever will. I worry, in our isolation, how you can possibly learn to welcome new people when mine is the only embrace you’ve ever truly known.
As I cradle you, breathing your intoxicating scent and feeling your downy soft hair against my cheek, your soft body melting into mine, I am overwhelmed with the notion that your daddy and I are the only ones who will ever know you this way. For now, you are ours and ours alone, while we are wholly yours.
How lucky we are to have you, to hold you, and to know the feeling of your body curled up on my chest. To hear the softest snores escape your lips. To kiss your warm skin as I lay you down to sleep. To feel your whole hand wrap around my finger.
I will my mind to memorize this moment, for even while our days and nights seem to stretch on forever, my heart knows that they’ll be gone in an instant. This quarantine will someday pass, your babyhood with it.
Outside, flowers bloom and birds sing. Summer is here. Beneath a picture-perfect blue sky, sickness and injustice spread like wildfire. As you flourish, strangers and loved ones perish.
Our home is a cocoon, shielding you from the world. I see it turning through a five-inch screen in my hand: masked friends marching in the streets, sharing socially-distanced meals on a trendy patio, tanning on a beach, or sipping cocktails by the light of an outdoor fire. All of it punctuated with ominous warnings: I see strangers loudly refusing to wear masks, and I see a spiking infection rate in our city.
I yearn for normalcy and I crave connection in the real world. More than that, I need our family to stay well. My fragile, postpartum body and mind need to stay healthy, so I can take care of you. Seeing you become sick would destroy me.
So, we stay inside for another day. Then another week. Another month. Nothing changes while everything is changing. You are changing.
With our mornings and evenings each as mundane as the last, our concept of passing time has evolved. It is not marked by errands, travel or guests, but rather by your smiles, coos and rolls.
As you reach new milestones, you show me the person you are becoming: strong, lighthearted and handsome. Already, your zest for life bubbles over in rapid-fire wiggles, giggles, and a wide, open-mouthed grin that awakens happy butterflies in my still-soft belly. The bliss behind your glittering eyes is infectious.
If ever there was an antidote for the dark and heaviness of this time—it’s you, beautiful boy. My son.
You are our bright spot.
My child, you came into this world like a flash in the night—a firework. Your bright and heavenly spark sending a welcome jolt through our hearts. With each new day, you dazzle us with your golden glow. You are the sun. You are my sunshine.
We may be stuck inside this house for a while longer, but I’m heartened that you’re here to light up each and every room.