A much younger baby arrived on the scene. She was probably a few months old. And all eyes were on this new precious baby. And I realized, with a jolt, that Eldest had been usurped in his tenuous position as the newest and most precious baby at a gathering.
Eldest is now 14. His sister is 12. His brother is 8. They are not babies. It is hard to remember when they were babies. Until I meet up with a baby in our "family." Oliver is 13 months old now, and he is the center of the world for his parents and grandparents.
His grandparents are my kids' Chinese godparents. Youngest is named after Oliver's grandfather. Oliver's grandmother is the woman I call my kids' "real mother." She took as much a part in their raising as I did. And she was better at it.
I am playing with Oliver, who has finally awakened from his nap. My children watch me. Although he says it in mocking good humor, Eldest likely feels a sting or a pang when he sees me playing with babies. "We're just relics now," he says to his sister.
"Yeah, we're the ancients," she says, piling on.
They rib me, chide me, tease me, ride me for breathing in the air that is baby, for relishing a spontaneous laugh, for being rewarded for finding a previously unknown ticklish spot.
The tentacles of time twist. I see on the horizon my own unseating, the usurping of my place. I am thankful for what I have in the now.