First birthdays are magical. Everyone is excited for the baby and her family. It’s acceptable to throw a party and eat decadent desserts in honor of a little person that has no clue what is going on around her. It’s joyous.
We certainly celebrated this past weekend, up in New York with Bug’s family. First we stayed in Manhattan with Grandma Roz, for a real city celebration. Fabulous cake, NY pizza, family and a cityscape view from her 18th floor apartment. And as a special treat for me, I finally got back to the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade – I was last there in 1996 when I marched up 5th Avenue with my high school marching band. We also watched as hundreds of American flags were walked to honor the fallen of 9/11, followed by a stretch of police officers and fire fighters three blocks long. No one does a celebration or commemoration like New York City. Later, Drew and I stole away for Greek seafood just the two of us. NYC makes it effortless to walk to somewhere worth being.
Then it was off to Long Island for a birthday party hosted by Grammy T. Ladybug enjoyed her family, and romped in the piles of wrapping and tissue paper from the generous gifts of cousins, aunts, uncles and friends all in love with the little lady. We stayed busy going to the diner, pancake house and park – I took a moment now and then to notice seagulls gliding and calling above. I will see you this summer at Jones Beach, my friends!
On a more reflective note, as we’ve gotten further away from Bug’s date of arrival in March 2010, I have felt like there’s a clock ticking on me: a clock that allows me time to use being a new mom as an excuse for being slightly out of it, often tired and sometimes frazzled. I’m a bit worried that after today, people will stop noticing that it’s still hard being the parent of a young child. We still do need support! Maybe if I refer to her age in months for the next year and not say she’s a full year old and then some, that will continue to garner me points.
Sometimes I crave those first few days at the hospital, when it was just the three of us and we were without expectations – ours or others’. We had nothing to do but take care of this little baby and survive. Now we need to do those things but work, socialize, clean our house, shop for food, travel to see family. Lots of expectations and requests for our time and energy. But I still feel like that new mom a year ago, wondering how our life was going to shift from that point in time for the rest of our lives.
This weekend in New York, Bug learned how to climb stairs, eat cake like a champ, walk upright holding someone’s hand and babble some sounds that are almost first words (“ball”, “bye”, “Aflack”). It is really hard to imagine that a year ago right now, she was wrapped in a receiving blanket, sleeping after her 16-hour journey into life – a journey that I led us on, naturally and medicine free, that I will keep forever with the utmost pride as a spectacular and mind-boggling personal accomplishment.
Our lives are different in every aspect of everything. I can’t imagine it any other way.
Happy Birthday to my Ladybug!