When M was not yet one month old, we went to a cafe for brunch. It was one of our first outings as a family. I felt proud to be out and about already, as much as was possible given the physical and emotional exhaustion.
It was a little French cafe complete with bistro tables and little porcelain teacups. We squeezed our stroller through the sea of legs and settled next to a table of older white Democratic women talking politics. This was pre-Trump times so the conversation was less than interesting. I ordered something sweet, probably. I was marveling at how M could sleep through the bustle of a busy brunch crowd when a woman stopped at our table and broke our exhausted reverie. My husband and I smiled and nodded at the ooh and aahs, and tried not to roll our eyes at each other while secretly loving the attention. Then she said,
“And soon he won’t be the smallest baby in the room!”
That comment has stayed with me ever since that day almost a year ago. At every restaurant, or coffee shop, or doctors office, I look around hoping not to find babies younger than M, wishing to hold onto these early moments of him, still tiny, fresh, and a stranger in this world. As much as it brings me joy every time a new tooth breaks through, or he makes a new random sound that means nothing at all–yes, as exciting and happy that is–I always come back to this thought. He’s growing up so fast, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I thought of the comment again today, when I was picking out clothes the next size up for M. The clothes look enormous, and my heart stung a little.
I remind myself to only think, at least at this moment, in my lap, he still is the youngest, smallest baby in the room.