Last year on New Year’s Eve Andrew and I went to the hospital in the afternoon so that I could be induced. We stuck around for an hour, but not much was happening so they sent us home. I made pasta for dinner. We watched Treme. I paced around the house in circles because walking was supposed to speed things up and it was too cold to go outside. We were quiet. I paid close attention to my body, but it was quiet too. Either way, we had been instructed to return to the hospital at nine, around the time most people were heading out for New Year’s Eve parties. We got a birthing room, and we saw my OB who gave me another dose of inducing gel, but between then and midnight still nothing changed. It was the most boring and most memorable New Year’s Eve, and I will always remember being in a bed in that hospital room, drinking ice water, and trying to sleep. All that waiting. And then Clara was born late the next day, the first day of the year, and finally the waiting was over.
I can write an entire paragraph about the night before Clara was born, but I can only approximate the entire first year she was here in fragments. There was too much! So much happened! It was good, and sometimes bad, and sometimes harder than expected, but sometimes easier than expected too. It was so, so much in one short year.
When I was pregnant, I wrote a lot. I had an endless Word document that I used to record what pregnancy felt like, how I spent my days, how I was feeling. I thought I would continue once Clara was born, but it turns out that I barely wrote anything about her first year, didn’t record the dates of any milestones, hardly recorded my feelings about anything. I’m not sure why — it wasn’t necessarily for lack of time. It was lack of words, maybe. Even today, a year later, I still feel like I’m formulating my thoughts about the whole thing, like I still don’t have the right words. I took so many pictures on my phone, though. The funny thing is that when I look at the pictures now, especially from the very, very beginning, they aren’t the Clara I remember. She looks different from the baby I have in my head. Which memory is more accurate? I guess the photograph. Still.
But I want to remember everything about this year. I want to remember the earliest days in January, the snow outside, and being warm in our house with Clara wrapped in blankets, the days broken up by two hour feedings rather than by daylight or darkness. I want to remember the feeling of her curled up in my arms while I nursed her or how she stretched out across my lap sleeping. How we bundled her in the carseat and brought her out into the world, and how, before we got one of those mirrors for the car, whenever we stopped at a red light I would race out of the car and quickly check that she was still breathing.
I want to remember the feeling of returning to normal, of not being so irrationally afraid, of embracing the new routines and how nice it felt. Going to the café and writing while she slept. I want to remember the spring, and taking long walks with her in the stroller. Our picnics outside when it got warmer. Our trips. Watching Andrew carry her through the small winding streets of Hydra. Holding her close on an airplane during takeoffs and landings. Seeing her learn how to sit, how to clap, how to eat, how to drink from a cup.
The feeling of seeing her personality emerge, and her smiles and her laughs.
I’m grateful for a lot of things in 2015: that I was able to spend the entire year at home knowing my job was protected, that I went into the year knowing very few mothers and came out the other end with a group of women I could reach out to. I’m grateful for friends who offered help, who just wanted to hang out, who loved Clara like family, who incessantly texted back and forth with me. I’m grateful to our families and everything they have done for us. I’m grateful for Andrew, and of course I am so grateful for Clara.
The thing that’s hard about writing this is that I can’t convey the joy I’ve felt this year because of Clara. How she’s made us laugh so often over the silliest things. It’s almost embarrassing, and it’s kind of simple too, but what a lovely happiness, one that comes so naturally, so easily! We waited for it, and it was worth the wait. I feel so lucky for 2015.
That’s really all I have to say about it.