My young friend Helena brought her six week old twin girls to our knitting group yesterday. She had promised she would although I wondered if she would actually make it. We are all delighted for Helena and her husband. It took eight years for this to happen. Twins were not on the original agenda of course but, as is sometimes the way with such things, a desperate measure ended up with two instead of one.
So, Helena holds out a baby to me. I hastily sit down and take the tiny, warm bundle from her. Oh. It is a very strange feeling. I have not had children of my own. Merely holding one feels like an enormous responsibility. She has just been fed. Her sister is being fed. So, we cuddle. I hold her upright against me so she can burp if necessary. She tries very hard to hold her head up. We look at each other. At six weeks she is still learning to focus but we make eye contact of a sort. Her eyes are dark purple-plum-brown. She 'smiles'. It is probably just a burp-smile but she appears content. Her mouth is so small that my thumb looks big next to it. I can barely see her eyelashes. Her fingernails are like tiny flecks of mother-of-pearl shell. Her arms wave aimlessly.
We 'talk' to one another. I do not believe in baby talk so it is complete sentences on my part. She just gurgles and offers small vocal responses.
Eventually she gives a tiny wriggle and puts her head against my top. I wonder if she can hear or feel my heartbeat? She is quiet and still.
Helena takes her from me. I give her up reluctantly but gratefully.