Getting To Know You

On Monday, Valentine's Day, my niece Makayala turned two months old. A milestone! Congratulations, Makayla -- you're now that much closer to the day when everybody refers to your age in years instead of months, before you get to the point when you want people to stop referring to your age altogether!

Happy Baby
Makayla at 24 hours old

We're lucky enough to see Makayla almost every weekend when we go to visit my parents and grandparents, so we've gotten to see how much bigger she's getting, how her chubby cheeks and thighs are filling out, how she is starting to look around, notice things, recognize people. She always seems to perk right up when she hears certain voices: her Mama, her Pop-pop, her Shae. She's a pretty quiet and unfussy baby, but she's starting to increase her noise levels to match her surroundings. She fits right into our big, noisy, crazy family.

MNH 2 weeks
Makayla at 11 days old

It's a wonderful thing, to see babies growing like this, but it's a little bittersweet for me, too. We didn't know Shae yet, when she was this age. The earliest pictures we have of her are from when she was about 4½ months old, on the first day that she was with the foster family who loved her before we were lucky enough to have her join our family. So sometimes when I look at all the pictures I already have of my niece, I feel a weird pain in my heart, because we missed those very early days with our daughter.

MHN 1 month
Makayla at 4 weeks old

Shae loves looking at her baby pictures in the photo album that the other family gave us as a memento on the day our placement became permanent. I do, too, but I feel sometimes like I am looking at pictures of a completely different person, someone so small and strange and unknown. And maybe I am -- we all change, all the time, right? Every milestone, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, we are a little bit different than we were in the month, week, day, hour, minute before. It's how we change, for the better or the worse, that matters, right?

MNH 2 months
Makayla at 2 months old

Still: I would be lying if I didn't admit that I am more than a little bit jealous of my sister, that she has been there from the very, very beginning of her daughter's life. I wonder how much different Shae would be now if we had become her family right away, right after birth -- or what if I were her biological mother? How would things be different? I think we have a hell of a kid, more perfect than we could possibly have asked for, but what might have changed if we had known her sooner? For her, and for us?


  1. you can't go back and change the past, so why dwell on it? she's awesome, she loves you guys, and that's all that matters. (easy for me to say, i know.)

  2. AH. This post hit me right in the heart. I understand completely what you are feeling and saying.

    You are so blessed to have received Shae when she was just a few months old. You have THOSE memories and THOSE pictures. You're a mom and all moms have different experiences...biological or not.

    On a brighter note, in a few more years you will be too old to remember those early weeks anyway. (heh.)

    PPS--I am my mom's biological daughter and there are maybe two baby pictures of me. I guess taking pictures wasn't as interesting after the one million they took of my older brother.

    PPSS--Maybe they're not my biological parents?!? :oO

  3. it's possible you were adopted. it's possible *I* was adopted, although i look a lot like both my parents and assorted various grandparents. perhaps i was cloned?