I held a child today.
He was no more than three days old, and he fit neatly onto my forearm. His eyes were closed and he had that pure innocence that only a child of three days can have. I held him close, doing the "bounce," which is so dearly familiar to every mother. I kissed him on the forehead and found that I enjoyed it so much that I kissed him again on the cheek; His soft, warm, newborn-scented skin beneath my lips.
I brought my free hand up and let this new person grasp my finger. It didn't even fit all the way around. His fingernails were so small, they appeared at first to be nonexistent. I wonder if he even has a permanent set of fingerprints...
My hands used to be that small. I used to be that size.
A wave of sadness overcame me. What have I become? How could I have grown so quickly? Where did all my time go? One minute, this infant didn't exist, and the next, there he was. I did that once. I'll do the reverse someday. How quickly our lives come and go. How short a time we have to be alive.
What I wouldn't give to be that small once more, to start over, and do it all again. I want that innocence back. I want the world to be so large and incomprehensible that I don't even try to understand it. When I open my eyes, I want a group of smiling faces looking down at me. I don't want to hear anything but the high-pitched baby talk of my mother. I want to be wrapped tight in a blanket and held close, always secure with the knowledge that I am loved.
I look down at this dear, sweet baby in my arms, and I kiss his cheek once more.
Stay young, little one.