A Baby's Baby
By Arwen Mosher
Camilla runs past me and I pull her in for a hug, which she loves.
She kicks her feet and giggles delightedly as I nuzzle her neck. I whisper, “I love you, baby girl.”
Suddenly she’s serious, twisting to meet my eyes with her wide ones. “No, Mom. I’m a big girl!”
(“Mom!” It just kills me.)
“Of course you are, sweetie, but you’ll always be MY baby.”
Camilla laughs as if she thinks I might be teasing her, but her tone is indignant. “I already just told you! I’m not a baby!”
It seems like minutes ago I was rolling my eyes at my own mother, who kept insisting - long after I was far too big to sit on her lap - that I would always be her baby. Now that I’ve got children of my own, I understand exactly what she meant.
My daughter’s limbs were once tiny and wrinkled, then chubby and dimpled. They are long and slender now, and will only continue to grow. She won’t go back to being a real baby, not ever.
Camilla doesn’t remember the day I first kissed the fuzz on her newborn head. She won’t. Instead, she’ll remember growing bigger, more independent, less tolerant of being called a baby by her sentimental mother.
Someday, though, she might kiss a newborn head of her own. Then she’ll understand how that moment sticks around and how, in a certain sense, a baby is always a baby to her mother.
My mom still says it sometimes, but I never roll my eyes at her now. I get it.
(Love you, Mom!)