yesterday i drove to bellingham to meet two-week-old baby enzo for the first time. i was excited to see the little man, and also to witness the transformation in my friend annalee. i know that giving birth changes you in profound ways, and although i don't know from experience, i've witnessed it in several friends. it is a mysterious and magical thing, that notion of making a baby inside one's self. it still blows my mind. looking at enzo's tiny toes and fingers, the features that will combine the best of his parents and develop to become uniquely him, soaking in the beauty of the vulnerable creature that will one day talk back and make his own grilled cheese sandwiches, well that's just a downright miracle. and watching the way annalee already knows his cues, knows what to do, and is so comfortable in her own skin: i am awestruck bordering on envious. at times i struggle with it all, maybe because i was once that squishy warm suckling ten-pounder in the arms of my own mother. my mother is gone now. the nurturing of a mother, a comfort irreplaceable, is at times an irreconcilable emptiness for me. so sometimes, i catch myself staring at those beautiful glowing young mothers and their babies, trying to grasp at the intensity of that loving bond i once felt. i have to catch myself, just to keep from falling apart.