MBS (Missing Baby Syndrome): It’s Real

Three days ago, our small grandson Marley was scooped up in a Virgin Atlantic “cradle” at Sangster International Airport and placed on board a plane bound for London, along with his parents.

And what about us, Marley’s lovestruck grandparents? We were left behind, to drive sadly and quietly back to Kingston in the gathering dusk. When we got home, the surface of our dining table was smeared and sticky from where the baby had been playing and messing around. I was reluctant to wipe it clean.

Yes, we were already missing the baby, and we are feeling the withdrawal symptoms today, although they are less acute.

The scene at the airport was like cold turkey. My husband warned me, “Don’t look back!” but it was too late. I had already unwisely glanced back and saw little Marley’s eyes fixed on me, over his father’s shoulder. He seemed to be saying, “Where are you going? Come back in a minute, won’t you?” But of course, we didn’t.

God, I do hate airports. I hate everything about them. But that’s another story.

Meanwhile, here is a list of symptoms of Missing Baby Syndrome, or MBS (in case you have not yet suffered – beware). The feelings are wearing off slightly, but we fear a relapse at any time. These are just a few of the little things we miss, after spending two weeks with Mr. Marley:

  • Hearing him crying for his bottle in the night (yes, even the crying is good);
  • That heart-melting smile every morning when Marley first sets eyes on you for the day;
  • Breaking off small pieces of raisin bread and other food items to pop in Marley’s mouth;
  • Watching Marley making eye contact and then shamelessly flirting with women of all ages in cafés and restaurants;
  • Marley pulling himself up on the coffee table (just the right height) so he could stand up by himself (he is very close to standing and walking);
  • Getting close up, grabbing one’s nose, mouth, eyes and occasionally inserting a tiny finger into one’s nostril;
  • His almost constant chatter (“babababa” is a favorite phrase, while he occasionally reverts to blowing “raspberries”);
  • Feeling his ridiculously soft cheek pressed against mine (do babies have extra-soft skin?)
  • Most of all, perhaps, I miss holding Marley on my arm and kissing the top of his head covered with soft hair (which grew quite a bit in two weeks).

There are many other symptoms, too numerous to mention; but you get the idea.

Like dengue fever and “chik v” there is no real cure for MBS. You just have to lie down in a cool place (is there one, these days?) and wait for it to pass.

By the way, we were less than impressed by Montego Bay’s international airport, which has received high praise in the past I understand. Perhaps Arrivals is great, but Departures was muddled and confused, very “Third World-ish” and cramped. The airport exterior and surroundings were nothing to write home about, either. Like large parts of the town itself, the place looked like it needed a facelift.

At this point, I heave a deep sigh. I have got this off my chest. Being a long-distance grandparent for the first time is, believe me, a bittersweet experience.

Till we meet again, little Marley.

The object of our affections. (My photo)
The object of our affections. (My photo)


13 thoughts on “MBS (Missing Baby Syndrome): It’s Real

  1. Duly noted and something I will keep in mind for 10 or 20 years from now . . . he is ADORABLE! My guess is that every baby who crosses your path falls prey to your case of MBS . . . .

    Our good friend and colleague Marina Delfos is in New York and on Friday a bunch of us New York based CVE’ers had the pleasure of spending the afternoon and evening with her. I arranged visits to Manhattan’s three historic Jewish cemeteries and thereafter we attended erev shabbat services at Congregation Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue (New York’s oldest Jewish congregation). After services, we were treated to a tour of the magnificent and historic building. We topped it all off with a delicious dinner at nearby French restaurant.


    Rachel Frankel, AIA

    Rachel Frankel Architecture

    10 Park Avenue

    New York, NY 10016

    tel 212 683-1067

    fax 212 683-6150



    1. So lovely to hear about Marina’s visit to the Big Apple! Sounds wonderful… Yes, MBS is incurable I think – but then, we miss all our family who live overseas so much, so this little baby is part of an overall picture (my sister and family are in England, brother and clan in Australia…)


  2. Grand parenthood sounds like a real roller-coaster of emotions but everyone raves about it so I guess I should be looking forward to it?


    1. Yes – the emotions hit me rather hard, but I think the long-distance nature of our family relationships has something to do with it (including our own distant son, too!) An article just came out in the New York Times coincidentally about people who move to be closer to their grandchildren. Can’t see that happening in our case, but you never know… Yes, you should look forward to it!! 🙂


  3. awww, sweet post Emma, my parents always said how having grandchildren (our 2 boys) was their absolute greatest joy – you got to experience all the love and fun without the responsibility! I’m looking forward to this some day!!

    Liked by 1 person

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