Is there anything more lovely than hearing stories of when we were little? Even though Winnie is just two, she repeatedly asks to hear stories from when she was newly born.
When you were a brand new baby, your grandparents and your aunties and uncles came to see you. Everyone held you and kissed you while you smiled, or cried, or slept. And everyone loved you.
When you were our teeny tiny baby, you loved to lie on Daddy’s chest. When you finally fell asleep, he would lie back on the couch and fall asleep, too. When I woke up, I would come to the living room and smile at you both.
When you were an itty little baby, Mommy used to wrap you up tight tight tight in a blanket. I’d dance and sway with you, and whisper, “Shush shush.”
I swaddled Winnie’s stuffed bear in one of her soft, orange baby blankets, showing her how I used to wrap her up. Â She pulled the blanket off the bear and insisted, “Wrap me up, Mommy! Â I’m a little baby!” The blanket that used to envelope her like a cocoon now doesn’t even come down to her wrists. Â I tucked the blanket as snugly as I could around her torso, and I walked around the room while I gently bobbed her up and down. She calmed down and listened, just as she did when she was an infant.
She still likes to play the game once in a while. “Wrap me up,” she says. Â And I do, and I tell her about how loved she has always been. Â I indulge this baby game because we both enjoy it. Goodness knows, it won’t be long before cuddling with Mommy loses its appeal.
I wonder if this is my daughter’s first experience with nostalgia. Â Maybe she realizes – in her toddler way – that some quality of time has passed, and is unavailable to her now. I’ve spent quite a lot of energy over my 30+ years feeling nostalgic about whichever phase in my life happens to have just passed me by: the school years, the single years, the childless years… I have to remind myself that, if we didn’t grow and change, there would be nothing for which to feel nostalgic. So, feeling nostalgic means that we have grown. We are doing what we’re supposed to do: traveling along on this rolling, dipping, dizzying journey of a life.
And, yet, I Â believe that there’s nothing wrong with looking back, reaching out to touch those especially sweet moments we have lived. We all do this, some of us through daydreaming, some of us through writing, some of us through hearing the stories of our lives from the people who have lived it right along with us. And me, I wrap up my too-big baby in her orange blanket, and I whisper, “Shush shush.”