as sam and i waited to board the plane at the airport, i saw a mother with three little ones, balancing a baby on her lap and asking the two older girls, probably around four and six years old, to help with the luggage.
i smiled. "how old is she?" nodding to the littlest babe.
"three months, born may 3rd. yours?"
"may 29th. by the way, you are brave, flying with all three on your own!" i'd felt a little frazzled that morning, even though i had my very helpful, capable husband with me.
the woman, who had the prettiest sleeve tattoo on her right arm, shrugged. "you do what you gotta do!"
since we all boarded at the same time (i now know why families with children get to board first!), the woman sat in the row in front of us. "this way if my baby cries, i can blame it on you guys. no one will know which baby it is!" sam and i laughed and agreed.
then i heard one of her daughters ask if her mom thought the baby would cry on the plane. i loved the mom's response. "well, we're going to hope she sleeps the whole time, but she may wake up and cry. but that's okay, because babies cry."
that's when i knew she was the type of mom i wanted to emulate. i listened as she spoke to her daughters throughout the flight. she never seemed to get stressed or overwhelmed, and excitedly pointed out buildings growing smaller and smaller as the plane rose into the clouds. and i think i know why she seemed so relaxed about a situation i would have found drenched in anxiety. she understood and accepted the basic things in life about having kids, and didn't seem to mind about things that were normal, like babies crying.
it's okay, because babies cry. babies wake up, and they cry. babies have no other means of communication, so they let us know they are tired, hungry, bored, overwhelmed, etc. by crying. it's something i'm still learning to be okay with.
i'm okay with it when i'm at home. ellery cries, and i try to figure out if it's hunger or tiredness, and do what i can to help her stop crying. it's when we go out into the world that i'm bothered, when i get stares from people who seem to be really irritated by my child communicating her needs with me. in the grocery store, at the park, at church (don't even get me started on that one), even at friends' homes. it's what makes me want to be a hermit, staying in my safe house with my precious baby, who can cry whenever she needs without angry stares from others.
she can cry. maybe she won't be called an "easy baby" by those who hear her scream, but i'm okay with that. what is that anyway, an easy baby? i kind of hate that term. what does it even mean? a baby who doesn't demand too much of anyone, who doesn't interrupt your life too much? people have asked me if ellery is an easy baby, and i'm never sure how to respond. is it harder because i'm not as good of a mother? is it harder because i choose to be more of a hands-on mom? is it harder because ellery is sensitive, like her mom, and requires more gentleness and help? is she "easy" to love? absolutely. is it "easy" for me to sacrifice showers, sleep, and eating to tend to her needs? yep. don't ask me if my baby is an "easy baby".
maybe by the time i've got three little ones, i can be as zen as this mother at the airport was. maybe with daily reminders to myself, i can slowly let go of worrying that others think my baby cries too much and simply be grateful that i have a healthy, thriving, very happy baby who brings inexpressible joy into my life.
i'll just keep telling myself that it's okay, because babies cry.