Birth Day

Here’s the thing about being pregnant: you just don’t know. Forty weeks, give or take a few (generally), is a long time to wonder, who’s this little baby, anyway?

When my first daughter was born — after a long labor that eventually terminated in a caesarian — the obstetrician held her up in his gloved hands. My first reaction was immediate familiarity: I knew this baby. And that was just the beginning of World with Molly.

From the beginning — with birth’s blood — raising kids often seems like surprise after surprise: oh, you can nurse? you can walk? you can ride a bicycle? make me laugh? make me stay awake all night, worrying about you?

If parenting has taught me one thing, it’s how precious little I know — save, perhaps, the world is unimaginable without our kids.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.

— James Joyce, Portrait of an Artist

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