A few days down with my daughter and son in law and the new baby. Sometimes time folds in on itself. It feels simultaneously a long time since I was in a house with a very new baby and no time at all since that baby was mine. This must be why mothers and mothers in law are famed for interfering and telling new parents how to do it. It feels so fresh and recent. You pick the baby up and he settles into your shoulder just like his mother did but this time you feel calm and confident, not desperate and all at sea as I did the first time round.
I cooked and cleaned a little, watched the baby while my daughter slept, carrying him around his house, singing Welsh carols to him, and watched my daughter's face as she held and fed him, utterly besotted and in love.
One day my parents drove up from Devon to deliver Christmas presents and meet their great grandchild. My mother and I both had our children young, so my mother, sitting with her great grandchild on her knee, is only seventy six and looks younger. I am suddenly aware of the spider's web of relationships in families. She is watching the baby's face and I glance up and see that my father is watching not the baby but her, the look of deep affection on his face reminding me that our parents have their own emotional lives too.
They go and the next day my younger daughter comes, bearing a sausage casserole and an apple cake. She is my step daughter and they are step sisters, these two, although we have been a family so long the step part feels a bit redundant and I don't think they use the term in talking about each other. Again there is a strong sense of family as the baby sleeps in his aunt's arms and later as they all make each other fall about laughing in the kitchen over elder daughter's rendition of New York, New York to the unsurprised baby with his wide all seeing eyes. I am very lucky.
And now home to engage with the reality of Christmas. Son and daughter in law are coming for a few days beforehand as they will not be here on Christmas Day, and the rest of the family are convening over next week with the baby having his first introduction to Wales (there was much talk of "Wales clothes" when I was with them. While the cottage where they will be staying is very cosy, the house works as houses used to do with cosy sitting rooms and cool bedrooms). Older grandson has gone off with his mother to visit his other family across the Atlantic. He is missed but it seems mean to mind too much when we have his company for so much of the year and his other family are longing to see him. His father I hope will be here for Christmas, distracting himself with food and presents and company and looking forward to having him home again.