All day I have been thinking about how important the first year is for a baby. They learn so many things in that first year, but most importantly they develop relationships---close relationships--with their parents. I have been pondering on how a baby clings to its parents, especially its mother, for security, love, entertainment, etc. This got me thinking about some of literature's most famous orphans. There are several, but Anne Shirley (of Anne of Green Gables and the rest of the series by L.M. Montgomery) and Harry Potter came to mind. Both of these orphans were born to good parents who loved them and took care of them for the first year or so. I believe this made all the difference. Anne and Harry are very similar in many ways. They both lost their parents when they were babies, were both handed off to families who did not love them, and then around the age of eleven both found a place (Hogwarts for Harry and Avonlea with the Cuthberts for Anne) where they belonged and people loved them. They both had some insecurities associated with their backgrounds. However, despite the fact that no one in their memory before the age of eleven or twelve had ever loved them, they both had the incredible capacity to love very deeply. How could they possibly love others when they had never felt it themselves? I believe they had. That first year of babyhood (even if not in their memory) taught them how to love and trust because they formed that bond with their parents.
I know these are fictitious characters, but I think they are a great example. The Harry Potter books give us another example of another orphan,Voldemort/Tom Riddle. In many respects, he was very similar to Harry. He grew up in a place where no one loved him and when he turned eleven he made Hogwarts his home. However, Voldemort was born in an orphanage and his mother died soon after. His genes were not all that great either (crazy grandfather and uncle), but his mother did love. I think, that if Voldemort's mother had survived (even for a year) he may not have turned out quite so bad and not underestimated the power of love. Instead , he was brought up in an orphanage, where he was cared for, but not loved and became not only evil, but callous. Of course this is all completely made up. None of these people exist, but there is something to learn here. I never thought about before, but Harry and Anne are perfect examples of why we should be great parents--because that first year makes all the difference.
Babies need hugs, kisses, cuddles, your time and your love. I am so glad I am a stay-at-home mom. I know there are many people that have to work, go to school, etc. but if you have the chance to be a stay-at-home mom (even for the first year) take it. I think it makes all the difference. It did in the imaginary world for Anne and Harry. Babies need to learn how to love. We have to be the ones to teach them.