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A moment of perfect awe

A moment of perfect awe

There’s nothing quite like seeing your baby for the first time.

Friends of mine had babies recently. I don’t see them in person, but follow as much as I can on Facebook. I say “babies” because their twins arrived in style, careening in to steal their hearts like a tiny Bonnie and Clyde tag team.

Having used social media for some years now and come across pictures of weddings, engagements, birthday parties and celebrations of every description, I can safely say that I have never seen such inexpressible joy written on a man’s face as my friend’s.

It looks as though his twin’s nappies are full of winning lottery tickets or a year’s supply of chocolate. He appears to be restraining a waterfall of happy tears, but not very successfully.

Those are special times. A parent will recall that vacuum of awe they felt when they first tried to digest that a human being was theirs, now.

First firsts first

Have you forgotten what it was like to stroke your knuckle across your new-born’s cheek, the golden whorls of baby hair giving the skin an unlikely animal appearance on the face of something so angelic?

When your eyes lock on your child’s eyes for the first time. Those huge, deep blue orbs seemingly alien and knowledgeable.

And the curls of the tiny fingernails as they dry, delicate half-moons that will cause you to quiver slightly for the next few months when it’s time to trim them. Those stretching, clenching fists that roll exquisitely.

I look back at those times and realise how much I have forgotten to appreciate just how precious children are. I have forgotten that deep-belly sense of utter adoration and protection, even though I’d never lost it. True, my teen son would be a bit freaked out if I gushed about his skin or his hair – babies can’t speak back if you’re getting too mushy about them.

The awe changes.

I know you’re not supposed to use the word “awe” unless you’re talking about majestic dragons or real-life royalty, but I can’t think of a better word for it. I don’t feel awe for other people’s kids, as talented or pleasant as they may be, but there are days when I just look at my own children with immense… awe. Not pride, as if I could ever have made something as wonderful as them, I am just taken aback at how much I love them.

They know I love them, but they don’t know about the awe. Maybe they do, and I hope that one day they’ll get to feel that awe too, should they choose to have children of their own.

I wish that for all parents to be and for anyone who is trying to conceive. May all your hopes and expectations end in that perfect, silent “wow” moment.

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Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time?