Sunday, February 06, 2005

happy happy birthday

T turned two today and though I fear the terribles with her in a way I cannot even begin to explain, I mostly feel so emotional. Before I had kids, I never imagined that my children's birthdays would be such a contemplative and introspective day for me, but they have been since S's first when I was so grateful to have gotten through the first year of motherhood with sanity still apparently intact--at least from the outside.

All day long I found myself keeping tabs with my day two years ago.

8:20am: At this time two years ago, I was having contractions in the doctor's office and at 42 weeks, she thrilled me with the news that I'd be having my baby soon. (Oh, those ripe full-termers are so naive. Of course I'd be having a baby soon. I was two weeks late and my gestation was beginning to compete with that of an elephant.)

9:30am:Suddenly in active labor at the doctor's office. Dr. whispers to B to get to the hospital pronto, but try not to do anything illegal.

9:50am:Looking for parking at the hospital. Am trying not to vomit on floor of the new family-sized car. After dumping out the ice on the street at a red light, B hands me an empty cup, just in case.

9:55am:Still looking for parking.

10:00am:Finally get B to concede to valet parking. The thought of expelling either vomit or baby is too much to deal with in new car.

10:10am:Must groan and scream while crouching down on floor of elevator on the way to labor and delivery in order to get through a contraction. Am aware enough to see that the older man in elevator is not comfortable with my grunts.

10:13am:B tells receptionist and L&D that I need an epidural now. "That's what they all say when they get here," she tells him.

10:15am:Am taken to the wrong room. Must try again. Can barely walk.

10:17am:Have taken off clothes, put on hospital gown, and am begging for an epidural.

10:20am:While nurse fumbles with IV, contrax are so strong, I can't even hold still to let her get the needle in. I tell her I need to push and she tells me to hold on.

10:25am:I tell the nurse again that I need to push and she checks me, tells B that there will be no epidural (hey, why didn't she tell that to me?!), and rings a bell that fills the room with what seems to be a million people in scrubs.

10:30am:We still have not been officially admitted to the hospital yet. However, with two pushes, T slides into the world. She's short and sassy, with a lovely chubby tummy and thighs. She takes one long look around her, and while I wonder whether or not she's going to let out a wail, she lets out a bloodcurdling scream that takes everyone's breath away. And then she stops just as quickly as she started. She's rosy and perfect and lovely.

When I was pregnant with T, I hoped and prayed she'd be a girl. I felt so guilty about wanting her to not be a boy, but I wanted a daughter so badly. I wanted that relationship, and though I realize that all mother-daughter relationships aren't perfect by any means, I wanted another female in our family. I wanted more than a co-conspirator, or someone to shop with and do girly things with. I suppose I wanted a chance to help raise a strong woman and put a powerful voice into this world.

I know that's a lot of pressure for my two-year old. But if anyone is up to the challenge, it's T for sure. Each day, I'm more and more delighted and in love with this sassy and spirited girl. She is terribly cute and flirty, but she's also one of the most powerful people I know. She's reasonable and sweet, but she makes herself heard and understood, even if she's still mostly pre-verbal, and she does this without screaming or having a fit (most of the time). She holds her own with her older brother and cousin, and we often get reports back from daycare with stories of her defending them from bullies of the toddler and preschool sort. If someone steps in her way, she'll either shrug them off and laugh or she'll stand her ground, and I just pray that she'll be able to hold on to this skill through her adult years. She loves to be around other people and is a truly affectionate child, with the strongest hugs for a tiny girl.

I'm not sure any of the wonderful aspects of motherhood aren't corny and I know this post is verging on painful. While singing Happy Birthday to her this evening, I had to stop in the middle because I got so choked up. The truth is, I've always cried during Happy Birthday, even when I was a kid at my friends' parties, but holding T and watching her sing to herself and then pucker up her lips in practiced anticipation, I just couldn't get over how lucky I am to have her in my life.

Happy Birthday, Miss Bee... You truly are the icing.

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