Nine months might feel like an odd place to sit back and reflect on motherhood. Typically people will write all about their birth stories or the first 12 months.
But, for me, 9 months hits a little different. My biological mother passed away tragically in a car wreck caused by a drunk driver when I was only 9 months old, to the day. It’s one of those ages when I hear it, it always stops me in my tracks. If someone tells me their child is 9 months, I feel myself observing in a different way.
I’ve always wondered what 9 months feels like—to be that age. Of course none of us remember that part of our lives but I was always just so curious. What milestones does a 9 month old reach? Do they even recognize their parents at that age? I’ve always wondered what the love for my own child at that age would be. I’ve never had any doubts that my own biological mother loved me, especially based on stories family has shared, but I always wondered… just how much? Whenever I tell someone my mom passed away I feel like I always need to pad it by saying, “I was just 9 months, I didn’t even know her.”
Now that I have my own child the same age I was when my mother passed, it’s blown me away how much clarity it’s given me. It’s almost like a weight has been lifted, questions have been answered. Nine month olds are evolved. And so curious. And my son certainly knows me. He lights up when we walk into the room. He whips his head around searching for Matt when he hears the garage door open then promptly reaches his arms up for a hug. He knows our dog and looks around for her when we say, “Maxi, where’s Pearl?”
I can almost tell the exact person our son will be already.
His personality is impeccable.
He’s hilarious—I always say I swear he understands comedic timing. We’ll tell a joke and he knows exactly when to laugh.
He doesn’t miss a trick—constantly swiveling his head around when he hears any sound, especially when one of us opens a snack. He loves food—eating it and playing with it. There hasn’t been a single thing he doesn’t like so far, he even loves a lime. Matt has lovingly nicknamed him “sMaxi” because he smacks his little lips whenever we’re eating something he wants.
He’s gentle and kind.
But also the silliest—he loves to rough house and be a huge goofball.
He’s determined and fearless. He’ll try to scale the headboard in our room and scratch his little fingers on the wall and I’ll gently toss him down on the mattress and say in a sing-song-voice, “Get those little fingers off that wall” and he thinks it’s the funniest thing. He’ll laugh so hard as he rolls around with his tongue out like Jordan and attempts to get up and scale the headboard all over again.
He wakes up in the morning with a smile on his face and non-stop giggles, which he clearly got from Matt since I need a good 30 minutes minimum to settle into each day.
However, he can throw some shady baby side eye if he’s not impressed with something—that, he got from me.
All of this and so much more has given me an immense amount of comfort. To know that although I was only physically with my biological mom for a short 9 months and don’t have a single memory of her—she knew me. I knew her. We knew each other. There are parts of her that are forever ingrained in the fabric of my life and my story. And I’d like to hope she could tell exactly who I’d end up being.
I can’t help but believe this perfect boy was heaven sent—Maxwell was our gift from her to show us that even through tragedy and grief everything still, somehow, has a way of falling into place.
for maxwell + leslee
professional photos captured by noli photo.