Usually Lilah and I sit in the third row from the back when we go to church. Right in front of the family with the little boy and the new baby. This Sunday, we snuck in late (that's also usual...) and Lilah chose the very last row. The other family snuck in even later and sat in front of us.
While the minister spoke about this season being about a little baby... I started really observing the little baby right in front of me. When it is your own baby, you are so completely exhausted and overwhelmed... I've never had the chance to just watch a baby sleep before... without the "mom thoughts".
She was so - complete. I mean, not only was her little face so perfect, but she had everything she needed. She was wrapped up snuggly, had her mom and her dad and her brother right next to her. She was completely at peace.
I didn't even realize I was drawing her at first. (I found out later her name is "Phoebe").
My mind went from the significance of babies at Christmas to babies at New Year's. Just as Santa has taken over "the Holidays," parties, champagne, the New York Apple, and Resolutions have taken over New Year's Eve. But I remember when I was little, the animated cartoon was about an old man and a new baby. It was very important that the Old Year be respected and acknowledged, and celebrated. It was just as important to make ready for the New Year - the excitement of the new baby and all the possibilities.
In the past few years, since my family split, I have had the lesson reinforced that children are not "ours" - they don't belong to us, like possessions. They may be treated like household belongings by the court, but we really only get to borrow them for a short time before they move on with their own lives. Having my children with me is a privilege. Even when they drive me crazy. And watching this little baby sleep in her bucket, I had the weird idea that time... each New Year... is a lot like a small child. We can't hold on to the time. We can't set crazy expectations of what we will accomplish or create out of that time. And it doesn't help to wish we had MORE time - or that the child would stay little. But we CAN enjoy each moment and appreciate having the time we have. I like the idea of sharing our joy, experiences, creativity and new knowledge - rather than setting "resolutions" and goals that just leave us disappointed at the end of the year. It's not a competition.
So whatever "new baby" you may be welcoming this year, I hope you take a moment to realize what a gift it is - no matter how exhausted it makes you! ;-)
Happy New Year everyone!