Loving the Village

Last weekend we had the pleasure of my sister and brother-in-law's company. We always have a good time when they visit but of course, since Addie has come along things are a bit different. Instead of spending all of our time lounging around watching the food network, taking naps and going out as we please, we seem to have a different form of entertainment... one of the live variety. Addie is completely comfortable as the center of attention and loves it when she has the audience of more than just Curt and myself. Someone new to impress with her clapping, dancing and newly perfected crawling. I love just sitting back and watching these relationships develop. Seeing my sister's face light up with such genuine excitement as Addie looks at her and smiles... My brother-in-law moving from the couch onto the floor to crawl around with his baby niece... Watching Addie slowly grow more trusting and comfortable with her aunt and uncle... 

It seems so funny to me now, because I think back to how I felt about these ideas when I was pregnant and I had an entirely different reaction. I remember feeling extremely anxious about the idea of someone else spending any amount of time with my only daughter. I planned to assault anyone who came near her with large amounts of hand sanitizer and insist that they only hold her for just a second. I would need to be close to her at all times and ensure that she was safe and cared for. I would need to be THE ONE person that Addie felt closest to and trusted the most. We had several events that we planned to attend in the first months after Addie's birth and I cried over the thought of them. So many people would want to be near her--what would I do!!! I confided in several girlfriends and gently explained to my husband my fears and everyone was very supportive. As Addie's mother, I had the right to be as overprotective as I felt necessary, even if it teetered on the edge of sanity. 

After Addie was born, I was blown away by my shift in emotions on this issue. Of course, part of this shift likely came from a place of exhaustion and needing to have a break just to get a few hours of sleep. But I think mostly what I wasn't expecting was the intense bond that Addie and I seemed to effortlessly share with one another. It did take some work in the beginning, I suppose, but it never seemed like work.

We just huddled up and allowed our relationship to solidify... mother and daughter... it was just so natural. In that connection, I developed what seemed to me as an incredible ease with having her bond with others. I never doubt that she knows I am her mother and that she will turn to me for comfort and love. But there's also this amazing sense of community and knowing that there is more for her than just me. Not to mention the elation with seeing the joy that she brings to others' lives. I am constantly amazed at how she is able to connect with others and melt the hearts of strangers. 

Perhaps it was just the hormones of pregnancy or the anxiety of becoming a mother for the first time, but I assume my fears were somewhat normal. It's funny how my fear turned out to be the greatest gift for her--our family and friends who love her more than she may ever know.