Having been an editor on tight deadlines who was once handed a 2,500-word story 20 minutes before the newspaper’s deadline and a church musician playing for Masses with the bishop present, I’m accustomed to high pressure situations.

But that was nothing compared to this. I was scared to move. One wrong move, and disaster could ensue.

I am never holding a newborn again.

I dropped in on my friends who recently had their first child, the first child in my circle of close friends. Headed in the front door. Hugged the happy parents. Stepped inside the living room.

Then the dad brought me the baby, all of not quite three weeks old. I haven’t held an infant in a very, very long time, so it wasn’t a natural feeling. I couldn’t quote figure out how to set my arms to receive the handoff, but the dad calmly got the little guy in my arms.

Not an accurate image of their baby. They’ve chosen for now not to post baby pics to social media or otherwise, and I’m respecting that. So, instead, here’s a photo of Maggie’s archnemesis, Baby Gerald.

Oh, boy. Now I’m standing here with a child that cannot hold up his head or, say, control his muscles. Also, tripping or otherwise dropping the baby would be very, very bad. “Uncle Krummhorn” was in big trouble. This is the part where you hope everyone’s insurance is paid up: the baby’s, for if I drop him, and me, for when his father kills me.

I took a deep breath. The baby, who was sleeping, didn’t notice. And slowly, ever so slowly, I inched over to their couch.

“Hi, little guy,” I said, pained-smiling at him while he didn’t notice. “Let me tell you what your parents are really like.” That’s right, I thought. Those meanies, entrusting this little guy to my clumsy care. That’s what they’re like.

Meanwhile, they laughed at my remark. After an arduous half-minute, 12-foot trek, which included going around the couch, I got to the couch and sat down in perhaps the slowest sitting motion I’ve ever done. The little guy kept sleeping. The dad took pictures as I smiled and cradled the baby.

And I exhaled a major sigh of relief and held him for a few more minutes, chatting with his mom and dad, until the dad took him back, seconds before a diaper change was in order. Final score: Zero dropped babies. One much calmer “uncle.” Whew. Thank goodness.

Anyway, while I have a second, here’s what your parents are really like, little guy. (Keep this in mind when you hit the Terrible Twos and question everything you’ve ever learned.) Your mom and dad are among the best folks I’ve ever known. If anyone has a chance of raising kids right, it’s those two. And I hope as you grow up, you’ll understand how blessed you really are.


  1. Pingback: 7 quick takes: That’s the question | Pull Out All the Stops

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