When I was very, very small, my aunt held me and told my mother, "She is an old soul." My mama says that since that moment, I've had worldliness and knowingness about me. They only evidence I have of that is ordering salads at restaurants when I was three years old.
Yesterday, I visited the newest member of my family, Eli. I was scared to hold him, as I had been with his sister when she was an infant. I was afraid of holding something so delicate, of holding him the wrong way. I was telling his aunt this, and she said, "Oh, you have to hold him. When you do, it feels like there is nothing wrong with the world. He is such an old soul."
And it's true. As I held him close, the whirlwind, static noise of thoughts and worries evaporated. All of my attention was on this tiny little being. My heartbeat slowed to match his rhythmic breathing. He took in the world, and his eyes didn't hold the same grasping quality I've seen in most infants. There was an acceptance, a patience with the attention he was receiving, a knowingness and a sweetness about him, so rare in others that he was striking and comforting at the same time. It was a comfort being close to him, a little respite.
Welcome to the world, Eli. May it be a wonderful one for you.