Friday, April 19, 2019

To Anna on Her First Birthday

My Sweetest Anna,
One year ago today, at 4:55 in the morning, after nearly forty hours of labor, you came sailing into my life, changing it and me forever.

Now that you're here, it's hard to believe that there was ever a time when you weren't. Being your mother is truly the greatest privilege I have ever had.

It was about a week past your due date when your daddy and I went to the doctor for a check-up, just to make sure everything was okay. As luck would have it, the end of that appointment was when you decided to begin your entry into our world.

Like the true individual you are, you took your time with your arrival. You wiggled and bounced and rattled your little nine-months-in-the-making home inside of me for hours before we actually went to the hospital. When I called her to say it might be time, your Nana drove from Santa Rosa to San Francisco in record-breaking (and highly illegal) time. Your Poppy came down as well and we all sat in the living room of our San Francisco apartment, eating Thai food and singing folk songs while your dad played guitar. Every few minutes, you would clench and push inside of me and I would yell at everyone to stop singing, and squeeze whoever was closest until the contraction passed.

Finally, around 11 PM, we all felt like it was time to go to the hospital. I sat between your Nana and daddy in the backseat of the car as we drove to the hospital and held onto them tightly, squeezing hard with every bump we drove over. 

When we got to the hospital, they checked us into our room and we all got ready to welcome you. The doctors and nurses let us know that the reason you were taking a little longer than they expected to come out was because you were turned to the side. "She's looking out the window," your daddy said. I think of that every night when you sit with him and look out the window of our bedroom before you go to bed.

The nurses brought me a big rubber thing called a "peanut." They had me lay on my side, facing the opposite direction you were facing, and hold the peanut between my knees to encourage you to flip back to the middle. I kept it there for hours while you wiggled and kicked and eventually made your way to where they wanted you. 

Finally, the nurses told me, it was time for you to come. Well, not exactly time, but time to get ready for time. What followed was the most surreal half hour of my life. While the doctors and nurses moved around the room, getting their equipment ready to receive you, your dad and Nana and I got ourselves ready. Daddy will tell you that during this time I was acting pretty weird. I kept insisting that he put on more chapstick because I was worried that his lips were dry, and started worrying about all kinds of unimportant things like whether the bags we brought were organized enough and whether I could have a straw in the plastic yellow hospital pitcher I was drinking out of.

When the nurses finally told me to push, you came out faster than any of us thought was possible, and suddenly there you were, a little purple with a pineapple-shaped head that completely freaked your father out until he was reassured by everyone that it would go back to normal soon, but absolutely perfect in every way, on my chest, looking me right in the eyes. In a millisecond, you cracked open my heart and triggered the release of more love than I knew it was possible to feel.

So much has changed since that early morning on April 19, 2018! It took us a little while to get into a rhythm, but together, your daddy, you, and I all learned how to operate as a family of three. And now you can do so many things! You can crawl, you eat all kinds of delicious foods, like avocado, kale (we know, we know, could we be more of a cliché?), Bamba, brisket, chicken soup, mozzarella, ravioli, and blueberries, just to name a few favorites.

And every day you're learning more and more. Soon, you'll have more words (right now your favorites are, "dada," "mama," "dog-dog," "yes," and "CAT!"). You play peek-a-boo like a champ, wave hello and goodbye, and love to offer other people a bite of whatever you are eating, like the generous lady you are. 

And you are always singing! Whether to your Nanny and Gramps on Facetime, to your daddy and me while he plays the guitar, or to the lucky shoppers who just happen to be in the Whole Foods produce department at the same time as we are, you are never not vocalizing and waving your hands around dramatically to entertain those around you. And it is extremely entertaining.

You are growing up so quickly and I know there is so much more to come this year my sweet girl, but I'm in no hurry for you to turn into a big kid too fast. I promise to give you the best childhood I possibly can. I promise to always meet you where you are and support you as you pursue whatever satisfies your soul and makes your heart sing as loudly and clearly as you do in grocery stores.

Thank you for everything you've brought into my life, Anna Mari. Today there will be a homemade chocolate cake, way too many presents, and a family who loves you more than anything celebrating the special girl you are. Tomorrow, you will be one year and one day old, surely ready to conquer the world. Happy birthday, dear daughter. I love you.

2 comments:

Valerie Jahan said...

Thank you for sharing your first year with Anna. I love how you are celebrating motherhood and parenting and so enjoying and learning from each age and stage.

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