Lorelei is smiling now, and since she’s started there’s been (almost) no stopping her. There seems to be no end of reasons for her to get that twinkle in her eye; a song or simple face-pulling game, getting her nappy changed, or seeing our bleary faces in the early morning. It’s helped us both see the good things in life through her eyes, taking in more all the time. We can see the good in ourselves clearer too, reinforcing that mostly, when she cries, she just wants the two of us as we are.
One night as we got ready for bed, I held her as her daddy held me and she was overjoyed just to look up at both of us at the same time. And, of course, her favourite thing might be our laughter in return. Whenever she smiles and sees us smile back, she comes so close to her first giggle that, yet again, we’re thrilled and bewildered by how quickly she’s growing up.
Whatever challenges the day brings in making her happy, we’re soon rewarded with something so much more powerful than any frustration. A baby’s smile is the purest expression of contentment, enough to break a wave of light over the kind of self-pity that seems like the end of the world some days.
I recently had one of those nights when a dreaded night change went drastically awry. I’ll spare you the details but for two words. Projectile. Poop. I’d been lost for where to start with the clean-up as Lorelei screamed, and in my panicked state the dirty carpet took priority. It seemed to take an age before Lori was equipped with fresh nappy and sleepsuit and peacefully feeding. With all the fluster in hindsight I felt as though I’d neglected her. Why, when all I want is to give her my all, had I thrown myself at a carpet stain? It seemed selfish to cry as I held her, letting her see me like that.
She even looked worried, her brow furrowed as she came away from her midnight snack, eyes narrowed a little, commiserating. Then it was as though she knew exactly what I needed. She stroked my chest gently, smiling. “Gah,” she said. But what I saw in her eyes was: “It’s okay. You’re doing the best you can, and that makes me happy.”
My wise little girl, who knows better than me what truly matters. Who doesn’t let anything stop her smiling. Her mind is already a wonder, worthy of Yoda’s praise.
The carpet’s still stained, by the way. A reminder of how she reminded me that, even through the mess, to her I’m always my best.