I had a baby sixteen years ago. My son was a great baby. He was easy-going, slept through the night at six weeks and generally just content with the world most of the time. I was able to be a stay at home mom with him and enjoyed being the mother of a baby most of that time. However, raising a human being is a lot of work. And I’m not talking about physically caring for them, food, shelter, etc. That’s the easy part. I’m talking about being responsible for sending another human being into the world that, essentially, isn’t a total jerk.
I know that we all get to make our own choices and that our parents are really just vessels and examples but still, it’s a lot of responsibility. A lot of patience and selflessness coupled with generally being ok with another human, being dependent upon you for getting their needs met in some way or another for years and years. And that is what I’m not cut out for. Patience, selflessness: OK. You needing me to get it done for you: not so much…at all. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to run screaming.
All that said, I love and adore my son. He is truly one of the most amazing human beings that I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know and I am honored to have had the responsibility of being his mother but I’ll stop there. One is enough for me.
I may not want to be the mother of anymore children but I just need to say that babies are awesome! All crying and pooping aside, they’re pretty much the coolest type of human being on the planet. This last weekend I had the absolute pleasure of spending time with two of my baby nieces. I came to understand in a whole new way just how much we can learn from a tiny human that has very limited capabilities yet still has everything it needs.
Babies are always in the present moment. Always. They have no plans, no agenda. They have no ego. No reason to be anything other than exactly what and who they are. Up until a certain point, they don’t even know that their body is separate from anything else. Babies just are.
There is something about a new baby in the room that completely changes the energy of that room. Maybe not all of the elders will fawn over it but the air changes. I’ve seen it countless times. Everyone stops and stares at the baby. For a period of time, everything else in the world comes to a halt. We all stop and wonder at this tiny little human. We get quiet, we are in the moment. We smile, we weep, we make silly noises, we state the obvious, repeatedly. We bask in the beauty of this little miracle as though we’ve never seen one before. Something about a baby brings us into the now.
Babies know what they need and they’re not afraid to ask for it. In fact, they will demand it if they don’t get it. Their survival depends on it. They have no idea that there could potentially be anything wrong with asking for what they need, exactly when they need it.
Everything is a wonder to a baby. Everything is new, interesting and is worthy of discovery.
Babies trust their instincts. If they don’t feel comfortable with you (for whatever reason), they will let you know that they want to get away from you. They can’t walk away from you but they can certainly make it extremely uncomfortable for you to continue holding them. They wont smile at you if they don’t want to. In fact, they wont even look at you. Since there is no ego, they’re not afraid of hurting your feelings over it either.
Babies are the ultimate example of the most simple form of unconditional giving, receiving and gratitude. They need you to care for them or they will die. It’s that simple. In return, we get to take care of them.
We don’t give to babies because we expect anything from them. We don’t feed them, amuse them, change their dirty diapers or snuggle them because we have this underlying expectation that they’ll do the dishes, tell us we’re awesome, buy us something nice or give us a raise. We take care of them because they trust us to, because we get the honor of doing something for someone who simply trusts us to. It doesn’t occur to them not to trust us.
When we have the honor of giving to someone in such an unconditional way we have one of our most basic needs met. We get to be a part of. We become trusted, we become part of a community (whatever that is), we fulfill our primal need to be useful, to be worth while.
What a gift!
When we care for the little humans, we pretty much just hope that they wont die and that they will grow, live and thrive.
What if that was the only thing we expected from anyone we gave anything to? To grow, live and thrive? That’s it. Not for acceptance, praise, money or even for love in return. Just to know that what we did made it easier for that person to be alive. How much different would our relationships be?