So far, our Evelyn is a very patient baby. She is, for the most part, willing to wait for us to catch up to her.
She waits calmly, quietly, while we change her diaper, while we swaddle her, while I set her down next to me so I can drink a cup of hot tea. When she wakes up, she looks around, blinking, waiting for us to notice.
(Unless two-year-old Eli is helping her. Then she lets us know.)
Probably she’s just storing up her energy for later. Baby dispositions are subject to change. Still, it’s not so bad right now.
“She is very, very calm,” our midwife said, while taking Evelyn’s vitals.
“Is she… smiling at me?” our pediatrician asked, while shining a bright light in Evelyn’s eyes.
“Well,” we said. “Um…”
(Insert a big, gummy grin from Evelyn here.)
She is not easily perturbed, this one.
Where she got this patience, I do not know.
Patience does not run in our family. The week she was born, I composed a Facebook status update in my head: Pregnancy insomnia means the end is nigh, RIGHT?
Then I thought I should clarify: The end of the pregnancy, I mean. Not of the world. Nobody freak out.
And add: Also I cannot reach my toenails. That means it’s time, yes?
Except I never posted anything, because I was kind of busy. But busy is not actually the same thing as patient.
When Evelyn was born, she was wiry and strong, like her brother Owen. Her ears were shaped like her sister Abigail’s. Her expressions were her brother Eli’s. And she had her sister Sadie’s wee little bird mouth.
But she doesn’t have Audrey’s dimple, or Sadie’s baby curls, or Abigail’s button nose.
She has a tiny birthmark no one else has. And she has her own patience.
Some things come from us, yes, but she was her own person from the moment she arrived—personality and potential in a seven-pound package—and it isn’t my job to tell her who she is.
We all get to decide how we define ourselves: how much belonging, how much separation.
Family is where we work it out, if we’re lucky.
But I can say this: she is ours, she is one of us, and she is her own separate self, all three at once, now and forever.