May I hold your baby for a little while?

Last Saturday night at church, I played piano for the First Communion Mass. It’s a big deal. The little kids, mostly Hispanic at Sacred Heart, dress up in white, sit up front with their padres and padrinos and become big kids in the church, finally allowed to consume the bread and wine.

They brought their whole families, which included lots of crying babies. I became fascinated with this little guy sitting near the front. His mother and grandfather kept trading off, trying to calm his cries and squirms. I found myself aching to hold him, to hold any of the babies. Even if they were crying and drooling.

I rarely get to hold babies. The last time was at Thanksgiving when I cuddled my niece’s six-month-old daughter for a while. So sweet. I loved talking to her, watching her smile at me, letting her wrap her tiny fingers around my big fingers. Now she’s a year old. I missed the birthday party because I was up here in Oregon playing the piano so other people’s kids could have First Communion. I’ll never get to dress a little girl in white, teach her the Our Father and Hail Mary and take lots of photos to treasure forever. You’d think I’d be over it by now. Nope. My friends, this is a hunger that will keep coming back.

Let’s be honest. At my age, I’m not anxious to deal with dirty diapers or sleepless nights. I just want to hold a baby. The child doesn’t have to be mine, just one I could see often enough so that she or he knows who I am and feels comfortable in my arms. Like a grandma.

This sounds whiny. People not in my situation would suggest I find a way to spend more time with the little ones in the family, maybe even move back to California. It would be easier if I had a bigger family that I saw more often, with a bunch of siblings and their offspring who would come running to Aunt Sue. I think about that a lot, but I have a full life that I enjoy right here in South Beach.

I could volunteer to do babysitting or daycare or some other activity that puts me in close contact with little kids. But somehow it feels too late. I was so busy avoiding babies in my reproductive years when I was trying accept that I would never have one that I never learned the mothering skills that seem so natural to other women.

Of course babies don’t stay babies. A friend who just came back from her grandson’s birthday party complained that the kid paid no attention to her, was glued to his cell phone the whole time. I’d probably snatch the phone away, and then he’d hate me. At least we don’t have to deal with that.

What do you think? Is there a substitute that really fills the void for those of us who are childless? Do you get the baby hunger, too? I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.


Things continue to be challenging in my family. My father, still in the nursing home at the moment, has another infection. He sounded awful last night on the phone. I don’t know what’s going to happen. My dog Annie is having surgery on Friday for a tumor the vet doesn’t like the looks of. I have also been dealing with expensive repairs to my car, pellet stove, and washing machine. The toilet doesn’t flush right, and the garbage disposal doesn’t even hum. I don’t want to be alone with all this. A friend taught me a new saying this week from the Spanish. “It’s raining on wet.” Lluve sobre mojado. Pretty much. One day at a time, we’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, here’s a song about raining on wet.


9 thoughts on “May I hold your baby for a little while?

  1. Here in Germany, there is an organization that matches up older people with young families. It’s meant for people who either don’t have grandkids or theirs live far away for instance. It’s a nice idea, as the older people can be lonely and young families are grateful for a bit of support. I’m sorry to hear your father isn’t doing so well, and I hope Annie has a successful surgery.


    • That sounds wonderful. We need more of that in the U.S. So many older people are alone most of the time, even if they have children and grandchildren. Thanks for the good wishes.


  2. I have a couple of go to sayings when stuff like that happens to me, that I thought I’d share:
    * the ever faithful “this too shall pass:
    * the one for when my mind needs a visual “it can’t rain forever”
    * and a Sicilian one when I also need a bit of a laugh: “chiu scuru di menzannotti non po` fari” (it can’t get darker than midnight)

    So you probably feel like you’re in midnight now, and it’s not getting any lighter. It will. Just stop, acknowledge that it’s your midnight for now and think about all the great things in your life that you will have when the daylight shows. Because it will show.

    And for those babies that you desperately want to hold for a minute – maybe find a local coffee shop that you could become a regular at and see if you can get friendly with other regular customers and when you see that mum who just wants a minute of time to enjoy her coffee, offer to hold that baby or toddler for her to give her a break. I often see my mum do the same for others in our cafe and whilst it helps that customers now recognise her as my mum, I see the light in their eyes for someone who’s willing to help them out for just that one minute when they are sitting in their own midnight of crying babies, dirty nappies and other motherhood juggles. Sending you light and joy, Laura x


  3. I am 42 and a childless stepmom and I thought I was the only one that craves to hold babies. I tried to have a baby of my own but many attempts and fertility treatments, even IVF, ended in a miscarriage and I never got that experience. My fiance’s children were 6&8 when we met so I never had any baby experiences. Every time I see babies, I instantly want to hold them and smell them, everything. It’s definitely a longing that I completely understand. Not being able to have children is a loss that is hard to deal with everyday. I will pray that God eases your pain and brings you joy.


  4. We had to sons,so i never got to do ‘girl stuff’with a daughter! I have always envied the moms with daughters who got to dress them up pretty in their white dresses and veils for First Holy Communion! At our parish,the First Communion dress is considered as an extension of the baptism gown or dress the girls were baptized in as infants,so to represent the purity of their baptisms,they wear a cloth diaper and plastic pants[rubberpants] under their dresses with an undershirt as their top.Many moms who i have talked to have told me how special it was putting the diaper and rubberpants on their daughters and using babypowder with them and making their daughters pure like when they were baptized!


    • Grace, Unfortunately, I cannot publish your comment. Our readers are people who do not have children, and they have made it clear to me that they do not want to read about other people’s children. So sorry.


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