My children's birthdays give me more pause than my own. Come to think of it, I can't remember what I did to celebrate the last three May 16ths, but I do remember the last five 15th of Octobers.
The day Cecile was born was a drizzly Monday. I was working from home, though in all honesty I didn't have the mental acumen to get much done. Still nine days from my due date and extremely uncomfortable, my mood was much like the weather. Jon called to check in around five o'clock, to see how I was feeling and if it was OK for him to work late. I had no dinner planned and no appetite, I told him. He said he'd be home sometime after seven. I hung up the phone and called a good friend. We talked, mainly about her five-month-old daughter. My first contraction came around 5:30, and I remember this because the credits of a muted "Friends" rerun were rolling on the television. I called Jon back, told him it was no rush, and urged him to pick up a sandwich for himself on his way home. He picked up an Italian sub and the smell of the vinegar dressing made me ravenous. I ate half the sandwich.
We called the doctor around seven o'clock, and my contractions were five minutes apart. She said to call back when they were three minutes apart. I don't think it was more than 20 minutes later we got the go-ahead from her to make our way to the hospital. Once there and checking in, I had a contraction in the middle of giving the desk nurse my social security number. I remember feeling she thought I was exaggerating my symptoms. "First child?" "Yes," I responded." "How long have you been in labor?" "Three hours." "Hmmm-mmm," she said.
Cecile was born just after 11 p.m. She came in just two pushes, though it took me another hour to deliver the placenta (the most painful part of my labor). Both set of grandparents arrived sometime after midnight, and we all took turns taking pictures.
The next day was a beautiful. The sky was clear and the sun was bright. Pink balloons and flowers crowded the windows of my hospital room. Everybody was in love. We were floating.
Four years later and we are still afloat, my Cecile. Though it is a much different type of buoyancy. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of baby Cecile and I just can't think where the time has gone. You are: stubborn like your mother. You love your father; he is wrapped around your finger. A morning bird and school girl, you are always ready for the day. You love your sister, but you also love your solitude. Books, crafts, caring for your baby doll, "Stinky Bunny," and all things Mary Poppins are among your favorite things. Every day is a lesson, a navigation. It's been a journey worth taking and I relish our adventures. I love you at every minute, no matter how trying. Sto lat, my girl.