No instructions needed—the heart knows what to do

Our youngest daughter dropped off a suitcase with clothes, jammies and diapers for her one-year-old who will stay with us when her mommy and daddy go to the hospital to deliver their second baby. Along with the suitcase came a favorite blanket, a stuffed animal—and two pages of typed instructions.

This will be our eighth grandchild. It’s not like we haven’t worked this gig before. As they say, “This ain’t our first rodeo.”

The instructions begin: “Warning!!!!!” (Five exclamation points.)

“She’s FAST!!!!!!!!!!”(Ten exclamation points.)

“She loves cords, outlets, confined corners, climbing on top of things, eating anything she can pick up with her fingers, running and pulling up on things. She’s strong!” That one only had one exclamation mark. Clearly, the baby momma was losing steam. At nine months, who doesn’t?

When we visited our son and daughter-in-law after they had their second baby, we saw that our daughter-in-law had four pages of handwritten instructions stuck to the refrigerator for her mother who had come to care for their first. I may have laughed too hard then. Now I am getting my just desserts.

My instructions included details on filling the sippy cup with Vitamin D milk and bringing the milk to room temperature. Little does she know the tot drank it cold from our ‘fridge just a week ago. But fine, I’ll bring it to room temperature.

There is a list of foods she can have: strawberries, blueberries, pieces of string cheese, bits of bread and peaches. And foods that are off limits: grapes, raw veggies, popcorn, soda and juice. I added bourbon and Chex Mix to her list to see if she catches it later.

I read my instructions thoroughly, especially the ones about “Send LOTS of pictures!!!!!” and the one that said, “Please go in after 10-15 min. if she’s crying and try rocking her or holding her upright (like a hug position) to help her fall asleep.” I realized she didn’t write these because she thinks we’re inept. She wrote them because she’s apprehensive.

She’s worried about leaving a 13-month-old who might not understand why. She’s worried her little one might think Mommy and Daddy are not coming back. (Believe me, Grandma will make sure that they do.)

But there’s something else between the lines. She’s fielding a question every mother asks with her second. If you love your first one so very much, where does more love come from for yet another?

Oh, sweet Baby Momma, the human heart was made pliable. It was made to bend and stretch and grow with the seasons, like a tree that sprouts a million new buds every spring. You have a deep reservoir of love. It’s bubbling in your heart even now.

A mother’s promise: Your babies will be fine and so will you!!!!!!!!!!

Ten exclamation points.

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