That's what the pediatrician says at the end of every visit. It's what the nurse said when we left the hospital nine (!) weeks ago. It's what my OB said at my six-week postpartum check-up.
I can see how some people might need reminding. It's grueling work, caring for a newborn baby. Sleeping in fits and spurts, being spit-up upon and cleaning up piles of poo, endless shushing and throwing your hands up in despair when he won't sit happily in his swing long enough for you to go to the bathroom, the inconsolable crying. This is all part of the package deal. And my package took several years, dozens of procedures, a million tears, and nearly $25,000 to arrive. But all that matters is that he did arrive.
And that package also includes the way he clings to you when you pick him up, nuzzles into your neck, falls asleep in your arms with a smile on his face, grins at you when you come into his room early in the morning, greedily nom-noms and gazes at you when he nurses. It's a gift every time he laughs at the silly songs Mommy and Daddy sing to him (somehow they all eventually devolve into "Camptown Races," but the subjects vary -- from "Jackson, don'tcha cry no more" to "Jackson is a milk monster, even scarier than Mothra"). His smell, the way he kicks while you change his diaper, when he reaches for your finger with a tiny hand -- gifts.
It's hard work, and every day I wish I had more sleep, more time to do things I want to do; but I am also grateful every day that I was given this opportunity, this enormous responsibility and incredible gift, to change dirty diapers and soothe tears. I don't expect the work to get any easier, but the reward grows every day.
I don't need to be reminded to enjoy my baby. I can't imagine my life any other way now, tough times and all.