Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Lady with the Baby, Reprise

I realize I haven't written about any fall holidays, Abby's birthday,or Christmas.  In light of my last post, though, I'm inspired to write about an incident that happened about a month ago, right after Thanksgiving.  Festive posts to come soon!

Last February, I wrote a post about people's reactions to tiny babies. Maybe it's because Abby was/is particularly adorable and charming, but I suspect most people with small babies have people say these types of things to them.  It usually opens with something about how precious/adorable the child is, then sometimes follows up with some vaguely ominous warning about the future.  "They're cute until they start talking back."  "Just wait til she starts moving." "Can I trade my teenager in for her?" I usually just smile and nod, because what can you say?

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Kevin and I went with friends to the Christmas tree lighting in Bel Air.  Afterwards, he, Abby and I had dinner at a local restaurant.  Sitting near us was a large group of what appeared to be an extended family, including two preteen girls.  Abby was being very charming (as usual), and was smiling and waving at everyone.  As we got up to leave, one of the mothers at the table turned to us to tell us how adorable Abby was.  I smiled graciously and thanked her, but then she added something unusual.

"It just keeps getting better and better," she said.  "My girls are so much fun.  Did you see that dance routine they did? (We had, and it was awesome.) They made that up while we were waiting in line to check out on Black Friday. People always tell you to enjoy while they're babies, but things are just so good now."

I thanked her.  It was so refreshing to have someone say this.  I had already sort of figured out that each stage has its own challenges and rewards, but to hear this offered up by a stranger was a gift.  I understand the message to "enjoy them now," but why does it so often have to be followed by, "...because you might not enjoy them later!" Which is more or less the implication.  I know my sweet girl might not always be sweet, but she'll always be MY girl and doing something wonderful.  Or developmentally appropriate that will eventually be something wonderful, in any case.  :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Best Christmas Gift

A little more than a year ago, we got the best early Christmas present.

Recently on Facebook, I posted this picture, comparing last Christmas to this Christmas:

and a friend of mine commented that she didn't get nostalgic for the early days with her kids, the way a lot of mothers do.  I replied that there are things here and there I get nostalgic about, but that, despite that precious photo from Christmas 2012, I am certainly not nostalgic about the newborn stage.  I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a pregnant friend - she said, "Birthing sounds horrible."  I paused, because in a way, birthing was horrible, but it was also wonderful (which is what I told her), because at the end, you get this incredible little person to fall in love with.  What is really horrible, I thought, hours after our conversation, is having a newborn. And the newborn stage lasts much longer than labor. I would have given birth two more times to skip the first month. But more on that another time.  Again, it's the same thing.  It's painful - in a different way than labor, for sure - but, in the same way, wonderful, because now I have a happy, playful, twelve-month old, who is a joy. And, in the grand scheme of parenthood, both labor and the early days are so fleeting.

So, while I don't long for those early days of two-hour stints of sleeping, one-hour nursing sessions, and forgetting to eat until 5PM, when I look at pictures from last Christmas, I am reminded of what a special time it was.  I remember feeling so blessed to have a family that brought Christmas to us so that we could focus on our new baby, and not have to miss the holiday.  So thankful to have plentiful hot food available, at least for a few days. On Christmas Eve, a light snow fell, and I remember hugging my sweet, eleven-day old baby to my chest, and looking out the window, feeling like everything was magical.  "This is Christmas," I thought.

And then, we tried to read The Night Before Christmas to Abby, which did not go nearly as magically as I'd imagined it would.  It ended with tears (Abby's and mine), and Kevin reading the book to his brother's dog, Stanley.

Stanley enjoyed it.  Things went a little more smoothly with Abby this year.

The point of this post?  To capture memories I didn't have the energy to get down last year, I guess, and a reminder to live in the moment with this little one, and be realistic about where we are and where we've been.  And to celebrate the blessing of our little girl and wonderful family!

A real Christmas post later!