December 2007

My gift to you. Happy Holidays!

There is a line in a Christmas song that goes “Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow…” Actually, now that I think of it, it is from THE Christmas Song. I have it sung probably hundreds of times, without thinking much about it, but this year it has taken on a whole new meaning.

I love Christmas. Even with the accompanying stress, I love the lights and the presents and the tree. I love making cookies and sending cards. This is Emma’s first conscious Christmas and she seems to love it as much as I do. Sharing Christmas with her has taken most of the stress out of the holiday for me and replaced it with sheer joy. I am much more relaxed this Christmas than I have been in years and years. If something doesn’t get done, I am not worried about it. I am just focusing on having fun and watching her experience her first real Christmas.

We got our tree and decorations last weekend . As soon as it was dark and Emma could see the white lights on the bushes by the front door she turned around to look at us, her eyes, well, all aglow, and sort of half-said/half-gasped “HHAAHHHHHH”. Once we got the lights and ornaments on the tree she stood looking up at the tree and did it again. It has been a daily occurrence ever since. In fact she even does it when we are driving around and she sees other people’s lights. It kills us every time and has made Christmas even more enjoyable for me than it ever has been before.

Emma’s birthday party was last weekend. It was wonderful. Lots and lots of people, lots of food (ok WAY too much food) and at the center of it, a little girl who managed to charm everyone and stay charming until after the guests left.

While we were missing a lot of our out of town family and friends, some were able to make it (big shout out to Poppy, Lexi and Emily!) and a lot of our local family and friends were there. There aren’t many times in life when you are surrounded by a big group of people who love you. A wedding is one time, but at a wedding you are just a couple. The thing that was so amazing and surprising about this party was feeling the love of all those people, and watching them all love Emma as well.

As her mom, I am deeply moved when other people love Emma. It reminds me that I am not alone in parenting her, in guiding her and in helping her grow. It reminds me that Mike’s and my love is just the beginning of the love she can expect to feel throughout her life. Seeing other people love Emma makes me feel that my little family is connected – connected to our community of family and friends and to the larger world community.

Initially, this birthday party was to celebrate the last year and our ability to get through it. Now I realize it was more of a celebration of the future and of my family’s place in the world.

Emma’s First Birthday from Justpowers on Vimeo.

Emma is one today.

I remember every minute of this day one year ago. I especially remember being utterly amazed at how beautiful she was, the second she was born. I had prepared pretty well for the labor and delivery and even for bringing her home and making sure she was taken care of in a material sense. There was no way for me to prepare for the emotional impact she would have on me, or for how immediate that impact would be. She was beautiful and so real and even though she was just over five pounds, she already held a place in my heart and my life that was bigger than most of the grownups living there.

She still surprises me with her beauty. She dances to music, talks to the cats, and delights in every new experience. She is already smarter than me, but forgives me for it, and loves James Taylor, which, let’s face it, is all you have to do to win me over.

Today was a mixed bag of emotions for me. I cried a few times, thinking about the power of her birth, how fast the year has gone and how fast the rest of them will go. Mostly I was happy though, playing with her in the first snow of the season – which arrived as her birthday present from Mother Nature – watching her flirt with all the nice people at the grocery store who couldn’t help but talk to her, and helping her learn how to play with her cool new birthday presents.

This post is a little disjointed I guess, but it feels like there are no words really to express what I feel about my daughter. Most of you feel it already anyway – either for Emma or for your own child/ren – so I know I don’t really need to explain too much. I feel like the Grinch at the end of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” when his heart grew three sizes. Before I had Emma, I thought my heart was pretty much finished growing. Now that she is here, it grows a little more each day.

Emma saw Dr. Ben this week for her one year check up. She weighed in at 20 lbs. 6 oz. and 29″ long and is doing great. He gave us permission to move from formula to milk, and said we need to start weaning her off her bottle (I can’t even get my head around how that is going to happen). But the biggest thing was that Dr. Ben told us it is time to turn Emma’s car seat around. No more watching her through a series of oddly placed and warped mirrors. Yippeee!!

The seat is switched and we all love it. She laughs and smiles through most rides now – and watches everything. Next thing you know she’ll be driving the car.