Happy birthday my sweet Genevieve. Today you are one. It's banal to say this year has gone so fast, but it has. To think that just twelve months ago we didn't know you, hadn't met you, didn't know your gender or your name. My greatest fear was that my heart wasn't big enough for two children. But, oh, a heart grows.
You were nine days early, born in the hottest May on record. I was uncomfortable. And crabby. So on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend your dad called the sitter and the two of us left during Cecile's afternoon nap. We went to Union Market and I ate a knish and drank an egg cream, and then we had a light dinner of ham and sherry at Mockingbird Hill. (Yes, I had some sherry.) We got home just after dark. I was tired. We watched a little television and then tucked in for the night. (Or so we thought.) Lying in bed, I realized I had forgotten to brush my teeth. For a long time I lay there, debating whether or not it was truly worth rolling myself out of bed to do the chore. Ultimately, I decided in favor of dental hygiene. Back in bed, teeth clean, I felt my first contraction. And then a second. It was 11:15 p.m. I decided I wouldn't wake your dad until they were five minutes apart, so I started counting. They were four minutes apart.
Downstairs, we called the grandparents. By the time Mimi and Papa arrived at our house (your sister, still sleeping soundly upstairs) and we left for the hospital, contractions were three minutes apart. Checking in with the labor-and-delivery nurse, I started to feel ill, the contractions coming fast now. The nurse, I think, thought I was being dramatic. I told her: "This is my second baby. My first came in less than six hours. When I went into transition, I vomited. And I feel I'm going to vomit right now." Another nurse saw me, took my arm, we rounded a corner, and I vomited. We went straight into the labor-and-delivery room. The nurses had no time to hook up the IV. Two pushes. You were born at 1:15 a.m. A girl! If I close my eyes, I can still feel how it felt to hold you skin-to-skin. "Now that's how you have a baby! Great control," the doctor said (ha!). We had trouble latching, but we worked through it. You had trouble sleeping, and we're still working through it.
And so, a journey 'round the sun. You are: a summer baby who likes bare feet and the car windows rolled down. An emphatic crawler, hands smacking on the floor. You share a secret language with your sister. You laugh with intention. You trust strangers. You love, and are loved. Very much. Happy day to you. Sto lat.