Our baby is sick.

All things being relative, she is in no way clinging to that shimmery, blurred line between life and death, as she did the day after she was born.  She is not even running a high fever.  So far, her Montana pediatrician advises that we simply stay home, and hydrate, and rest.

And so we are.  Which is very unlike us.  I am not prone to sitting at home and resting.  Oh, I’m home plenty, because I work out of our home, but it is not often that I simply sit and observe Maggie, and hold her.

And hold her I did yesterday, for hours and hours.  The baby who usually plays by herself for an hour or so in the morning required a playmate on the floor, and I happily obliged, holding her in my lap and building block towers and reading about chameleons and singing songs about friendly black spiders.  Towards mid morning, the baby who usually requests a bottle and then settles in for a long nap had no interest in the bottle or her crib.  And so we sat on the couch, and I held her for hours while she slept.  I watched her lungs inflate and deflate and cursed the wheezing, coughing fits that drug her from under sleep’s comforter every so often.  I inspected her tiny hands, hands that have learned to grab Cheerios, books, and bears in the last nearly-nine months.  I marveled over her porcelain skin, so unlike my own, and the little marks that learning to cruise have inflicted upon it.  I dug my phone out of my pocket and tried to preserve the moment.

And then we repeated this routine in the afternoon.

I had not held Maggie Rose for such an extended length of time since she was in the NICU, and though I wished fervently that I could absorb her miserable-ness into my skin, I enjoyed the hours, even after my arms fell asleep from the strain of holding her.  I projected into the future and wondered  about the last time I will hold Maggie’s whole body in my arms, a moment I will not know until much later, if ever, and I wondered if she will be 5 or 10 or 12, if she will be hurt or come to me just because.  I wondered if I will be able to look back and pinpoint that moment, and I thought about how beautiful life’s uncertainties are, and how cruel.

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