I cry more than the babies in “Babies”

I just watched Babies. Finally! And I cried a lot. Did anyone else have that reaction?

Must be because I had severe anxiety from the moment Stella was born. Seeing sweet, simple moments from the four babies’ early months made me wish I’d been less insane and better able to enjoy Stella’s. Even in the more stimulating environments of Tokyo and San Francisco, I sensed more calm than I remember from those days. I loved her with fiery intensity immediately, but there wasn’t much time to be joyful. I was hyper-vigilant, exhausted after being awake for two days during her birth, and worried about everything even before her feeding problems began. I remember looking out the hospital window right before being sent home and all I saw was grayness, trash and hard corners. I distinctly remember thinking, “The city is so harsh. I don’t want to take Stella out there.” Sometimes I wonder if my stress played a role in creating the medical issues that damaged Stella’s intestinal tract while kicking my anxiety into the stratosphere.

As I devoured every moment of Babies, I felt a sense of longing and even a touch of grief. I just watched it, during Stella’s long afternoon nap, with a cup of chai green tea and a cozy, thick, fleece blanket on this chilly, rainy late summer day in Seattle. The exact same weather marked Stella’s first day on earth. I remember that Cody admitted to me that he found the rain sad, wishing for sunshine on her birthday. But later that day he broke the big news to his best friend, who pointed out to Cody that rain was perfect. It makes new life possible and helps it grow. I now realize Cody was struggling right along with me, though his friend’s words did wonders in that particular instance.

On THIS rainy late summer day two years later, I was able to just relax and watch a movie. Stella and I met up with a friend for lunch today, after a leisurely morning at home, during which she and I ate lamb and pita and I held a real conversation with another adult while she played. We’ll probably just take a walk in the rain when she wakes up. When Cody comes home, we’ll have dinner together. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve got a bit of that elusive peacefulness now. In between tantrums, of course.

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