I got to hold a newborn today named Avery. The little nugget isn’t yet a week old, and she was in my arms. Perhaps she dreamed of the fantastical universe that only exists inside the newly formed brain—each fresh thought a revelation, every new sound, smell, sight, and touch a sensory explosion that jumps about, making a little bit more sense of the world.
Her soft head nestled into the crook of my elbow; her legs curled up, the fetal position still so natural to her tiny little body. White fingernail tips, a full head of brown hair, and puffed cheeks that feel as soft as velvet… all parts of a giant discovery inside a miniature human form. I felt my body sway back and forth as if switched on by the internal rhythm of life itself. I may not want a child of my own just now, but I very much enjoy having a spine curved against my arm, a wrinkled hand hooked around my fingertip, and a miraculous expedition into the great unknown unfold before my eyes.
I spent much of my time with the nugget’s family thinking about my nieces. I wish I could have held them at 6 days old, seeing their eyelids flutter, noticing how much they share the traits of their parents. I should be a better Aunt, and I’m letting the distance keep me from being a part of their lives. I want those smiles and laughs. I want to hear “JuJu!” again, and see Rainy run to her little sister, as if to protect her and claim her. I want to pretend I remember being the small one, having my siblings run to me and fawn in love for me.
It really is magical. I shouldn’t be missing it.