Faye holding her latest book HALLEY and wearing the Moonbeam Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction.
My latest book, HALLEY, awarded 2015 Jefferson Cup Honor for Historical Fiction. Awarded the Moonbeam Silver Medal for Young Adult Fiction. (see the following web address for more information) http://www.newsouthbooks.com/pages/2015/10/20/halley-wins-moonbeam-awards-silver-medal/ Available at: NewSouth Books: www.newsouthbooks.com/halley and Amazon
Several young women of my acquaintance are expecting a first baby. It is interesting to hear them talk. The children are going to be intelligent because they will expose them to all the right books, good music, excellent schools. The youngsters will be respectful, appreciative, and, of course, beautiful. The babies will be happy and lovable. The young women will be perfect mothers to those perfect babies.
The real baby they get might not fit the plan. I know, because I had all these expectations when pregnant the first time. In addition, I knew what my baby would look like. Just like my four younger siblings–who were all beautiful, in my opinion–mine would be bald. In, fact, I considered a baby with a headful of hair ugly–almost grotesque. Comparable to being born with a beard and a mouthful of teeth. The big night came and my husband drove me to the hospital. This was in the days when fathers were secluded in a small room about five blocks from the delivery room. Doctors back then would have allowed a stray dog in faster than a father-to-be. My husband would have preferred to be in a separate hospital across town. Being in the same building might allow him to hear screams.
Anesthesia took me under before the actual birth, so it was several hours later when I woke to see my husband, along with a nurse carrying a big bundle. “It’s a boy,” she said, and laid the ten pound bundle in my arms. I looked down at a puffy, scrunched-up face and about two pounds of coal black hair. I wanted to claim it wasn’t mine, but he looked so much like my mother-in-law that I couldn’t, not unless Benjamin had fathered another child born on the same night, in the same hospital. I cried because the baby in my arms didn’t seem like the baby that had been in my body. I cried because: What kind of mother was I to feel that way?
After three days, I began to accept the hair and soon I could see Ben was beautiful. More important–he was HAPPY! He slept all night long the first night home. He didn’t cry when he had a dirty diaper. He didn’t fuss about diaper rash. He didn’t burp out gallons of spit-up after each feeding. And he wasn’t scared of strangers–he loved everybody. Once, when we went to my parents’ home for Christmas two of my sisters-in-law and my sister had babies near Ben’s age. Sometimes all three babies were screaming at the same time. Meanwhile, Ben smiled and slept through it all.
“How do you do it?” the other mothers asked.
Feeling smug, I shrugged. It was obvious, I thought. Unlike the others, I had waited until I was mature, and when you did that, you got a baby like Ben.
Then I had my second baby and learned the truth. It didn’t have much to do with me. David was not as easy to please as Ben. He liked routine to remain the same and he didn’t care for strangers. When he was unhappy, boy, did he let you know it! In other words, he was a typical baby. And I loved him every bit as much as Ben.
What I learned is the same thing that I guess every mother learns sooner or later. Each child is different and has his own personality right from the start. A mother’s job is to love each one unconditionally and help him be all he can be.
It’s the best job in the world.