Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Smiling Babies

My impulse has been to avoid babies, but I can't help peeking or looking at them across a room.

By all rights I should be avoiding them, I can remember not liking babies or pregnant women much at all after my miscarriages. But I guess the lesson with Perry is that they are the forgotten people. I don't know what it is, I don't smile at them. I just look at them and study the face as an individual. Usually I am in a crowd. There are lots of people looking casually or making stupid faces, but they make eye contact with me and smile. I have never had this many smiling babies around, even when I tried. Even when I was happy with Perry and Emily on our 'town' adventures.

So do they sense that I am looking at them, really seeing them? Not just casual cutesy stuff people do to make the Mom feel good, but wanting to know who that little person is over there?

I really want to stay straight faced, but here is this little person charming me. My son charmed me the night before I left to go to work, and even though I was upset I had to smile back. I want to ignore them, act like I don't see them, but that would be denying that there is somebody who is trying to make friends... telling them with my actions that I don't think they are worth my time even though I know they are there.

I can't do that.

So I smile, I wave if they are smiling across a room. Sometimes they cackle or coo back, wave arms and wiggle in Mom's arms in excitement.

I have a friend who describes the veil between heaven and earth descending when a baby is born. That to babies and young children this veil is thinner, so they see things as they really are. They sense the unseen with a reality adults can't. So what do these babies see? If anything I look older and a lot less 'attractive' in some ways, some of my hair is growing out in tufts from where I lost my hair when Perry died.

I don't know.

So my heart is softening a bit more. If there is anything to take my grief out on it is not these babies.

But I have drawn one line with these smiling strangers. I will not hold them. I want that first to be my own, if I am blessed again. A Brother or Sister who would naturally receive them if Perry were here.

That's what I tell myself at least.

Perhaps that is too simplistic. My husband said, looking at a poster advertising no reprisals if a baby is left at an occupied fire station, "I bet that would break you heart." I thought about it. Not really, because at least the Mother cared enough to make sure her child was safe even if she couldn't handle motherhood for whatever reason. So I would hold THAT baby.

And then I think about if I went on a neonatal call, would I hold a baby to perform chest compressions beneath my hands. Yes, I would hold THAT baby.

And what if it were not sadness, but a mother giving birth, would I be willing to hold the baby for the first time? Yes.

I am not completely broken... But please understand if I do not hold your child. It is not that I am in denial, I am just holding to hope that one day there will be another baby in our house. I am saving that first for our own family. It will not be a Perry Bryce Williams, he was unique and will always be loved. But if he/ she has his brother's nose, or eyebrows it will be very sad to realize that I will not see them on him for a long time, but I would also love the fact that the same DNA that passed to Perry is popping up in another child. I admit I mourn Perry will never have his own babies to hold, he was worthy of going on in some small way here on earth. This I think, is the closest I will have to that. I loved the fact that Perry and Emily had the same long feet, and I love it still.Or perhaps, years from now, when Emily holds a baby I will see him in them. It is always comforting to me that you see the people you love in your children. It is what we have left here after time wears the ones we love away. Now instead of just Grandparents, I will look for Perry as well.

I don't know how long this will take, or if it is even possible. But I hope it is.

I understand why parents take such comfort in organ donation... they just want something left here that goes on and helps another child go on. It's not much compared to what is lost, but it helps.


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