I held it together quite well most of the day yesterday, though I did have some moments where my gaze would linger and I would cough down the knot forming in my throat. Papa bear was working and my doctor's appointment was cancelled so what were we to do but have us a little girls' snow day?! We made a snowman and worked on our snow angel technique. We shopped and had lunch together and even squeezed in a play date with Birdie's cousin. As long as we were "doing" things I was ok. And then as the sunset disappeared and the sky got dark things began to slow down. Before I knew it was time for bed.
I decided to take a bath with Birdie as I had many times when she was a newborn. We figured out after an initial disastrous experience with the baby tub that the only way to bathe her was by holding her in my arms in the tub. And so that is what we did for months and months. It became our special time together at the end of every day. She's a big girl now though so mama and baby "batheez" are more rare. We grabbed some toys and got in. She splashed and played for a while but as the clock neared her bedtime she began to get quiet and calm. Right before getting out she rested her head on my chest and just lay still. We were both completely relaxed.
It was then that papa bear mentioned that it was last year at almost this same time that I was getting in a bathtub as well...
I had taken so many baths at that point since it was the only thing that had been helping me get through two weeks of prodromal labor. We had had an ordinary day for the most part and in classic fashion I was starting to get contractions before bedtime. I climbed in hoping to wait them out in the tub and eventually go back to sleep. I truly hated this time in my pregnancy. The contractions made my belly rock hard and it was hard to feel her move anymore. Unlike the previous 8 months I felt like this pregnancy was happening to me as opposed to feeling like a team with my baby. I felt helpless and out of control. As I sat there watching each contraction tighten and then release my belly I wasn't thinking about anything except how tired I was. And then, it happened...
Four minutes apart and then three. We had seen them so close together before but they had never felt quite so painful. Two minutes apart and we were finally on our way to the hospital. From thereon forward it was all a blur until that moment when it was as if someone lifted the needle from the record.
I'll never forget hearing her cry. "Vse, vse, vse moya milaya" I whispered to her as I pulled her onto my chest. I told her it was over, she was my sweet girl, it was over. I felt in that moment that equal parts of our hearts had manifested itself in the form of this perfect angel that night. My best friend. My joy. My love. My heart. My daughter.
I never knew my heart was capable of so much love. She is the best of both of us. She is pure and joyful and loving and kind. She has filled our house with laughter and dancing and puffits and toys. Every morning she wakes up clutching her beloved dog with the widest grin on her face. She dances to the slightest tune and loves to share. She teaches us patience and the art of saying "woo" more often at everything we see but especially animals for they are always deserving of the loudest "woo." Not a day goes by that we take her for granted.
We dried off and put on pajamas. I zipped her up into her sleep sack and as I placed her in the crib something inside me broke. I closed the door and the tears began to sting my eyes. I had closed the door on our first year. On swaddles, pacifiers and newborns and rocking and breastfeeding and sleep training and those oh-so-tiny diapers. On so many firsts - her first spoonful of food, her first time sitting up, the first time she crawled, her first trip to the zoo... It all seemed to zoom by at lightening speed.
But as I mourned the past and the fact that we will have a baby for only a handful more months I also relished in the person that our daughter is. In the way that her changes bring forth even more joy. In the way that with every day we get to know her better and the fact that it already feels as if she's always been with us. I can no longer imagine a day that doesn't start with a dance party in bed. A day without tickle fights and giggles. A day without clapping when we finish our food and chasing Belle around the dining room table. A day without this little ball of joy that makes our hearts grow to lover her more each and every day.
Happy Birthday moya milaya we love you more than you will ever know!