I just opened the baby box that I packed up about 6 months ago, after the hubbub of the holidays died down. In the box, I had carefully placed their holiday outfits – Santa suits, Halloween onesies – ridiculous My First Thanksgiving suits, with turkeys on the butt. I’d also tossed in some of their first onesies that I was attached to. The others had long ago been passed on to other new babies. But the special yellow one was there, that Hopper had worn with his new fair hair. And the blue and white striped one, that the Lion had worn in his first months, when he was so intense, with his fists clenched.
As I opened the box, I wasn’t prepared for what happened. The new baby smell – that curious mix of expectation, excitement, freshness, and buzzy sleeplessness came rushing into me. I broke down into tears. I’m not an overly sentimental type, so it really caught me off guard. We just didn’t know what was ahead of us. It was all a blank slate.
Almost a year ago, we were brand new again at this parent thing. Entrusted with two beautiful baby boys. Perfect, new, fragile, trusting, pure. That smell evokes all of that. And reminds me of my first two children, grown now. All the excitement of newness long gone for them, replaced with a bustling of their new adulthood.
Babies just bewilder me with their pureness. That scent is just pure and ripe with possibilities. What will these boys become? I didn’t know their personalities when I packed those boxes. Not really – they were only 3 months old. I had no idea how much I would grow to love these boys. I thought I loved them as much as I could when I packed that box, trapping in all those smells. I was wrong! The love just keeps growing.
I know that smell won’t stay around forever. I probably just released most of it when I opened the lid. But I really hope that I can remember that overwhelming sense of newness and possibility when I come back to read these words years from now.
I read a quote once – As long as you’re still living, there is time for change. As we walk through life, day after day picking up experiences, locking in our personalities, I hope that a reminder of babies who are new and precious and un-invested in how they are in the world, helps to move us to be willing to be open to possibilities.
This is what August and Liam have reminded me of this morning, when I opened that box and smelled their newborn baby scent.
Now, it’s time to go downstairs and play with them. They’re so fun, and they demand me to experience their cuteness!