Despite being 37 and having borne a child of my own, I have never looked after a baby all by myself. Ever.
In fact, I changed my very first diaper just a few weeks ago when the neighbours asked us to watch their little girl after getting one of those horrible family emergency phone calls no one ever wants to get.
We did fine, My Beloved and I. But there were two of us there. Two Nervous Nellys worrying that we'd somehow break the kid in the few hours her parents were gone.
We didn't. We did fine. She survived and so did we.
But then they asked if I'd fly solo yesterday morning. Me. Alone with a baby. Can you imagine??
The thing is though, I did fine. I think I did really well, actually. There is no one to corroborate this information because Jessica can't really talk yet, but trust me, I did good. I played with her, put her down for her nap, gave her a bottle, changed a big poopy diaper and fed her lunch. Yeah, I also sat on pins and needles for an hour and a quarter while she napped because although I had the monitor on, she was out of my sight and I was panicked that something would go horribly amiss during the time I couldn't actually see her. But still, I did good.
And I walked on a cloud for the rest of the day.
When I was pregnant with Thomas I worried endlessly that I wouldn't be able to do all those kinds of things right - that I'd be a colossal disaster when it came to doing all the physical care-taking tasks required of me. I knew I'd love my boy. I had no doubt about that. But I worried that I'd do everything else wrong.
Yesterday, when I was able to look after a one-year old child for 3.5 hours with not one single glitch, I realized for the very first time that I would have been just fine. That I have it in me. That I'm a good mother in more than just name only.
I realize a morning isn't the same as years of mothering. But to me it was huge. It was incredibly, blissfully affirming. I could see - I could feel- that I am cut out for this.
I never really knew before yesterday. I hoped it was the case, but I didn't know for sure.
And now I do.
So now I just need to get me a baby and I'm all set.