Scrolling through social media, a meme grabs my attention. On the left side: a sweet infant, perfectly-posed in a perfect outfit with a cute little sticker declaring the number of months the perfect little human has existed. Then on the right: a baby in an everyday onesie, a small paper with a number scrawled on it stuck haphazardly on the baby’s chest.
I laugh and consider just how accurate the image is. But somewhere inside, I feel the all-too-familiar tug of mom guilt. Soon, it begins to pull me deep into the I haven’ts and I should’ves.
But can I let you in on a little secret? Even if baby #1 has all the things and baby #2, 3, 4, or more doesn’t, we love them no less.
He may not have a baby book with each “first” recorded, but we are busy making memories every day.
And someday when he asks about when he was a baby, the voices of his siblings will join mine in telling stories.
He wears hand-me-down clothes, but the hands that touch him are gentle and loving. Seeing him in the same outfits his big brothers wore reminds me of their baby days and just how fast he will grow.
His crib, with its scratches and scrapes, has been used many times. It holds the sweet dreams of his siblings who slept there before him. It’s heard his mama’s prayers over each baby deep in the night.
He doesn’t have monogrammed burp rags or blankets, but he has six pairs of hands ready to burp, carry, cuddle, and hold him at any moment.
His birthday parties aren’t themed or extravagant. Instead, they are squeezed between sibling’s activities, but each year his presence is a gift we celebrate.
He doesn’t have the latest baby contraption recommended by the “experts” but he has parents with years of experience guiding their decisions. Parents whose hearts have expanded to make room for one more.
You see, this baby isn’t loved any less because he doesn’t have the latest, newest things. No. In fact, he is surrounded by even more love.
As our family multiplied, so did the hearts available to love each new addition.
When I see the pictures of baby #2, 3, 4, or more with a sticky note slapped on his chest, I will laugh a little and then look over at my youngest with a true understanding of what really matters.
My love for him can’t be captured by perfectly posed, monthly pictures anyway.