When you’re 32-years-old and single like myself, seeing photos of your friends' babies on social media starts to get, well, annoying.
Maybe even more irritating is hearing them go on and on about how becoming a parent has changed their lives. They never thought they could experience anything so perfect, it’s their greatest accomplishment, they’re finally complete, blah blah blah.
Look. We single 30-somethings hear you loud and clear.
I always want to comment to their Facebook posts in all caps:
BUT DID YOU GO TO HAPPY HOUR WITH YOUR FRIENDS LAST NIGHT AND SLEEP TILL NOON THIS MORNING LIKE I DID? DIDN’T THINK SO! BAHAHAHAHA!!!
Last week, I met my niece for the first time.
I won’t be cliché and say, “I get it!” Because I believe everyone’s experience with a child is different. But the love I felt for that 3-month old beauty became so real and enormous all at once. It took my breath away. The words even escape me as I write this.
I flew across the country to where my brother and sister-in-law live and finally met perfect little Lucia. And perfect is an understatement. She is the most beautiful baby in the history of mankind. (I mean, obviously, right? She’s my niece. I know you think the same of your baby.)
She made me melt.
Her eyelashes, tiny fingernails, soft skin, and that smell – that perfect, perfect baby smell everyone always talks about. It was absolutely intoxicating.
Every second I wasn’t with Lucia, I wanted her next to me. I could have stared at her for hours while she slept. When she cried in the morning, after I had slept just a few hours because of a late night with old friends (don’t judge) I jumped out of bed to go get her. I let her mom and dad sleep and I just held her and fed her and hung out with her. We looked at the falling snow, and talked and laughed and fell back asleep together.
Meeting Lucia made me happy, but sad, too. I live 3,000 miles away from her and the next time I see her she'll probably be walking and talking and I'll have missed all those first moments. I crave her smell and her smile and…those eyelashes!
But my heart has grown, and for that I am thankful. My priorities have shifted, and I’m just her auntie. I’d rather go see her again than visit a girlfriend in Manhattan and shop and eat and drink all weekend. I’d rather change Lulu’s diaper and wake up early and hear her babble and even hear her cry.
This is love. It is so big and enormous and I almost don’t know what to do with it. It sort of just makes everything better in a way. Anytime something just plain sucks, I will think of that tiny face and tiny hand grabbing my finger, and I will smile on the inside.