Written by Michelle
If you asked my mother what her grandchildren are like, I could bet you that 99.9% of the time she would answer with a huge smile and adoring eyes “simply perfect”. She’s wonderfully biased and extremely “humble.” As a mother, I’ve come to understand more everyday the reasoning behind that reply.
The first twenty hours after giving birth to my three children there has always a been lull. That first moment where it’s simply space, time and aside from the beeping heart monitors just me and my new miracle nestled warmly in my arms.
Time stands still. And with time, so does my heart.
In that first moment I have alone with my children, I become an ultra-critically aware mother/physical examiner. I love taking time to deeply examine and meet my child. From the shape of their nose (a fascination of mine) to the size of their ears, the length of their feet or the color of their hair. I’ve savored those moments all to myself, always in awe of my perfect little bundle.
With my first born, I marveled at his sounds. I stared at his little mouth and rounded bright red lips. He cooed and cried very little.
His cone-shaped head was definitely my stress. How could three hours in the birth canal do this? Would he ever have a normal size looking head? A winter hat did the trick most of that spring. It also helped in comforting my fears. He grew into his head 7 years later (…mild exaggeration).
Ok, ok, he was fine two weeks later.
With my second born, I fell in love with her perfectly colored skin. She was stunning (please note, perfect head) and had the cutest birthmark freckle underneath her right ear. I could not get over her perfect colored skin and secretly wondered if the nurses put her under the bilirubin blanket when I fell asleep.
Could it be normal for a newborn to have this Saint Tropez tan at twenty four hours of life? It was too good to be true! She seemed almost perfect as a baby. And THEN, she turned two and started to talk. Sigh…
Finally, there was my third.
No St. Tropez tan. Bummer!
She cooed, she cried and did everything the other three did. As I examined her, she had a small mark on her shoulder blade. It was slightly red and flat, probably the size of a dime. While at the hospital, I thought it was probably my birth canal (Ruler of all things damaging. First my sons’s head, now her shoulder!). Yet, as time passed, the small red marked popped up from her perfect little skin. It was then we learned what a hemangioma was.
Although the red spot on her skin seemed alarming at first, it was mostly our fear of not knowing what it was. We were comforted quickly by nurses and doctors and learned that in our situation this blood vessel bundle would grow, stop, then dissipate through time.
From the time it was visible, her brother and sister learned that Izzy had a beauty mark. It made her special and just like each of them, unique. They took well to it and complained that they didn’t have one.
At eighteen months, Isabel finally realized there was a pronounced red mark on the top of her shoulder. We all giggled as she discovered it. She tried to play peek-a-boo with it the first time she found it. She would tap it and say, “What’s that?” laughing every time.
Every summer as the tank tops and bathing suits make their way back into my kids’ closets I’m reminded of my lull when my babies were born, how time and my heart stopped in a hospital room.
It comes in the form of questions, concerns or awareness from people and friends who see or perhaps never noticed Izzy’s beauty mark. I don’t mind the questions. I welcome the curiosity.
Isabel’s beauty-mark marks the last time I had a moment with one of my perfect little bundles. Those small miracles now walk, talk and have a future filled with moments that will probably make my heart once again come to a halt.
Through good days and bad… tears, laughs, and massive meltdowns these instances bring back memories of my sweet babies nestled in my arms. Regardless of my stresses, our faults or imperfections, time stands still every time I realize they are not perfect. Yet, they are perfectly mine.