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Monday, May 2, 2016

Some kind of wonderful

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My mom used to tell me all the time that I shouldn't be in such a hurry to grow up.

"When you have kids of your own," she'd tell me, "You'll be amazed at how fast time starts to go by."

Funny how over the years the things my mom used to say to me have come back to me, sounding more and more sage every time.

My assistant editor Jared and his wife Nicole just had a new baby boy, Miles, on July 23. Nicole had some complications and didn't feel so well for a few days after Miles was born, so my son, Will, who has known since Christmas that a baby was coming, had to wait to see Miles for a few days.

When we went to visit Miles for the first time, he was five days old. Before Will and I went, we stopped at the store to pick up some gifts.

Will wanted to get several different toys for Miles -- all of which were geared for babies in the 6-12-month-old range.

"Will," I said, "Miles can't even sit up yet."

Will looked at me blankly.

"Can he crawl?" he asked.

I chuckled.

"No, Sweetie," I said.

Will pondered this for a molment.

"How does he get around?" he asked.

"He doesn't," I said. "Babies Miles' age spend most of their time sleeping or being held."

Will looked thoughtful.

"Is is like that for all babies?" he asked. "Was I like that?"

I smiled.

"You were," I said.

For a moment, I looked at this bright-eyed, inquisitive little fellow of mine, and I remembered that yes, indeed there had been a time when he couldn't "get around" on his own.

Now he's 8. His sister is 19.

I recall vivdly seeing my children for the first time, and being amazed at what a miracle life is and what incredible things the human body can do.

These little people, on loan to me from God, depended on me for everything. From their first breaths, they needed me.

My daughter was born on a cold, snowy January evening. I don't think I slept too much the night she was born. All I could do was stare at her.

What was she going to grow up to look like? What would her voice sound like? Would she have curly hair like me?

Would she be good in school? Would she like art and music like me? What would she want to be when she grew up?

I wondered the same things on a chilly April afternoon 11 years later when Will was born.

And now, in 2010, I know the answers to just about all those questions.

There are still things I wonder about my childrens' futures, of course. They're still very young.

But I know them now in ways I couldn't when they were tiny babies. There are no mysteries about certain things.

Dani did exceptionally well in high school, and now she's excelling in college. She speaks her mind, is driven and is no one's doormat. She is studying to be a nurse.

I repeatedly told Dani two things:

1. Never apologize for being exceptional.

2. If you want satisfaction, chances are you're going to have to demand it.

Today, as an adult, she uses them as mantras.

Will is a daydreamer. He loves music, poetry and theater. He could do well in school if he applied himself, but at this point (he's only going into third grade and I know things could change) he just does enough so he can get by and have time to do other things.

The two pieces of advice I find myself giving Will most often are:

1. People aren't always going to understand why you like the things you like, but that should never make you act like you don't like them.

2. You need to spend more of your time enjoying what you do have than worrying about what you don't have.

To Nicole and Jared, I offer my heartfelt congratulations, along with a little piece of advice: Treasure these first months. They will fly by.

Babies are some kind of wonderful. At this point in the game, it's probably hard to imagine there will ever come a time when you will know what Miles' favorite color is or what kind of food he likes best.

It'll come a lot sooner than you expect it.

Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. Her e-mail is jbarrand@bannergraphic.com.