Each time I visit Anchorage I fear Lady Baby will have outgrown my comfortable pick-up zone. But not yet. In June she didn’t seem heavier but much longer, taller even. When someone holds her, she stands firm on those sturdy legs.
I took Lady Baby on morning walks, along with part of her entourage – Lady Cora and either Grandpa or my old neighbor. Lady Baby rides in a front carrier, the amazing Ergo, and begins the walk with a lively lookout – her face so small compared with the wide world. She gazes at trees and sky, hedges and houses till her eyes narrow, her lids grow heavy, and she leans into me.
On the long morning walks, I talk to Lady Baby, watch for traffic, and stay alert to sidewalk irregularities. But later in the day on a little sleep-inducing walk near the house, I am visited by memories of earlier times on exactly that sidewalk, by that street. Most of all I remember the days when our younger son (in a Snugli, front pack of those years) would sleep, while I walked beside our older son maneuvering his brand new two-wheeler.
For someone who had no continuity in my life before Downtown Abbey – a dozen childhood homes, none having any connection to anything else and not lasting for long – the constancy of place, in the same spot with a new generation, amazes me. And makes me feel very lucky.
Sometimes I wonder what I would say now to the young woman who walked there with her newborn and a four-year old – a parent in the trenches – tired, happy but distracted, thinking how the wobbly riding was getting better, wondering when the baby would need to eat, and what’s for dinner. How short my time perspective was at that point – how little I knew.
What if you could do that kind of time-travel and let your young self know things – like how fast the years of childhood will go – how rich those years will seem when looking back, how many more decades there will be for other things.
Most of all I’d like to acknowledge that it’s hard what she’s doing – seemingly not valued and not rewarded – but very important. I would like to give her a glimpse of the grown up product – show her the joy ahead – when they don’t need help to nap or ride bikes.
And wouldn’t my young self by surprised to see the granny with the baby of the bike rider!