Two days ago, I sat in a lovely cafe with a friend. We chatted over a shared plate of chips and salads. The meal was difficult enough for me since she had her baby the same week I did, and as the months tick by I see more obviously the developmental differences between the two girls. She is such a nice person and all she said were wonderful, encouraging things about my May; that, plus a plate of chips, made for a wonderful afternoon.
Then, the inevitable. The worst part about eating in lovely cafe in the middle of the day. The other mothers.
A Frenchwoman with her gorgeous blue-eyed child approached us. Her girl was about one-year old and tottered about the cafe holding on to her mother’s fingers. The girl was drawn to May’s buggy, where May lay sleeping. She peered over the edge of the buggy, pointed at May and squealed with delight.
“Sorry,” the woman said.
“It’s not a problem,” I said. I moved the buggy a bit so that her girl could see May better.
Then, the questions began. How old? What is your baby like? What does she do? In my head, I thanked May for being asleep so I didn’t have to watch this woman calculate silently what May should be doing now, but can’t.
“One-year? And, your baby is toddling all over the place,” my friend said with a complimentary smile to the Frenchwoman.
The woman rolled her eyes with the weariness only the mother of an over-achieving baby can muster. “Oh, it is terrible,” she said, “I never get a moment’s rest. She is always up and always walking. She never leaves me alone. It is awful. I’m always exhausted. I hate it.”
And, I hate parents like this. How can you take for granted the wondrous things your child does?
If May is able to walk and wants to do it all day long, it would be the greatest gift she could give me. If she is able, may I always be exhausted and always love it.