When Walter was about 20 hours old, my parents brought the children to the hospital to meet him. Alex brought them up and Wally and I waited in silence for their arrival. And suddenly there they were, flushed from a cold rainy day and bringing with them a noise of great rejoicing. Alex was filming, the girls trying to climb up on the hospital bed, Hugh trying to dive onto me from my mother’s long-suffering arms, my father’s flash bulb going off like a strobe light, everyone talking at once. It was glorious and I loved it.
Here we are, being six.
Hugh was extremely keen on baby and we granted him the first cuddle. As soon as Walter was properly settled in his arms, he jabbed a finger directly into baby’s right eye and exclaimed, “Eye!” very loudly. I am proud to report that Walter didn’t even notice. What followed was a hair-raising investigation of baby’s countenance. Then he leaned forward and presented Wally with a big kiss. He laid his little face right down on baby’s and gave me a big smile. After that he was mostly interested in sitting in a chair and snacking on Goldfish. Babies come sometimes, but one’s appetite is a constant.
No Goldfish required for the girls. Norah sat on the bed and held him four times in a forty-minute visit and asked to hold him eleven more. Harriet cooed over him over and over and kept trying to unwrap and inspect his little arms and legs. Their delight in him has continued without abatement the entire week.
My mother presented Wally with his own special Nana Quilt. She has made one for each member of the family and they are like family heirlooms in our house. Cozy, comforting, constants in our oft-changing environment. Wally’s is beautiful.
Twenty-four hours later Alex and I buckled Walter into his car seat (They always seem so tiny that first time on the road!). We headed home together in the cold sunshine. I loved that drive, one of life’s perfectly happy moments. And then there was a happier one, as the children came spilling from the house and leaping across the front yard, kicking up leaves and yes, all talking at once. The girls decorated the door, my father had put a huge bouquet of stunning flowers on the table, my mother had lunch in the works.
He’s adjusting well, our Wally. He’s already started to gain his weight back and has shown a decided preference for sleeping that is always so encouraging in an infant.
Bringing him to the bassinet yesterday I found this: