I have a new nephew! The adorable Rivyn, son of my brother Barrett and his wife Dosha, arrived into the world a bit earlier than expected, but he's home now and doing well. I got to meet him in the NICU on my way to Vermillion, South Dakota recently. I'm looking forward to holding him next time.
at the cottage and show him how to paddle an inner tube across the lake there. They want him to bounce with them on the trampoline and bike around the neighborhood. They want him to join in their cookie baking experiments and to help decorate our sidewalks with chalk while waiting for an ice cream truck to come by.
In good time, though. They understand for a few years there's just a lot of aimless cuteness to admire, but of all the cliches about raising kids the one about "It goes too fast" is probably the most true. (Followed closely by "It changes everything.") As hard as it is to imagine right now with that little boy unable to do much more than wiggle, they will be doing those things and more with their cousin before we know it.
It's impossible to look at my new nephew and not think about how each of my own babies arrived into the world. Each different even in the womb, each with their own personalities and observations and lessons to teach us, but there is nothing quite so life changing as that first baby because that's where the learning curve is steepest. I remember Barrett holding Aden for the first time when she was about the age Rivyn is now. She was wearing a striped onesie and overalls and she was a little sleepy as I placed her into my brother's arms, and he was so overcome with emotion he wound up apologizing for getting tears on her bald head.
Now little baby Aden is so grown up. I looked at her with my mom on Mother's Day, and was struck not only by how much time has passed in a blink for me and my babies, but for my mom and her babies. Aden's closer to leaving home than she is to being the baby I remember so well. I'm only now starting to understand how my growing up and moving away may have felt for my mom. It's a strange mingling of accomplishment and loss, of awe and heartbreak.
I wish I could impress upon my brother how he will never have more days ahead with his son than he does now. When I think about how few years I have left with Aden under my roof I feel a little panicky. I know she's only 13, but did I mention it goes fast? And time seems to be speeding up anymore.
There are many parts of being a parent that you can't know until you
live them yourself. Other people's stories are just stories. I think
about what I thought I knew about parenting before I had kids and what I
know now and it's embarrassing. Because you can't know. The same way right now I
can't know what it's like to be a man, or to lose a parent, or to live
in a war zone. Some things I will never know, some things I will learn whether I want to or not, and others are up to chance. Parenting is its own grand experience like no other, and nothing I know of can both humble and inspire someone in quite the same way.
is overwhelming at times because it's responsibility without breaks,
the need to be competent while at your most vulnerable, and constantly
having to adapt. All of these things while also managing to be boring for good stretches (but never uninteresting), and you come to appreciate how sometimes boring is when things are best. It takes time to find your family's rhythm, but once you do it's the only real thing that feels like home.
I'll never forget that surreal feeling of taking Aden
home from the hospital and wondering why we were removing her from an environment where everyone knew how to care for her in any circumstance, and placing her simply with me when I didn't know what I was doing. And yet, I did know somehow. What I didn't know, I learned quickly enough.
There is so much ahead for my brother and his wife. Joy and concern and tiny outfits and messes and firsts and lasts and oh so much cute. They are both natural parents, and that is one lucky baby. They are going to have a wonderful time, and I'd be jealous of the stage at which they are right now if I didn't remember the sleep deprivation part of it so clearly. (Okay, still a little jealous, because how wonderful is it to get to walk around with a new baby?)
So welcome to the world little Rivyn! You are greatly loved, and we have so much to show you. When you're ready.