I almost can't bring myself to write this post. It's like my thoughts of her are almost too precious and sacred to type on this crude screen.
Last year during the holidays I was eight months pregnant. By the eighth month every expectant mom is longing to wear her real jeans, lay on her stomach, eat Chinese food without having heartburn, have a conversation without getting winded, and go more than 20 minutes without visiting the ladies room. The pregnancy is getting long and it's not that fun anymore. You can see the light at the end of the ten-month tunnel, but it's got to get worse before it gets better.
During the Christmas of 2008, I longed not to be pregnant anymore, but it was not due to those reasons. I wanted my baby girl with me for Christmas. My heart longed every day for her to be here. When I saw Christmas dresses in the store, my first thought was to get her one. Then I had to remind myself that she wasn't coming until February! She was already so real in my tummy - growing daily, stretching, hiccuping, and tossing from side to side. My subconscious just couldn't shake the expectation of her being with us for Christmas.
I have my darling daughter in my arms this Christmas season and my joy is now complete. No more longing for this baby, only enjoying her. She is at the perfect size to hug and squeeze. I got a lot of snuggle time with her tonight and I couldn't help but think that she feels like holding a big, adorable gummy bear. She has one little tooth that is slowly making its way up and it is heartbreaking. Her soft brown hair is getting longer. Sometimes it waves and other times it goes straight down like a mullet. Either way she is the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. She is happy. She loves her mommy and she loves her daddy and she can't help but love that silly big brother whom she lives to laugh at.
She plays games now. She likes to come and get me when I hide around the corner and peek out. She loves to sit in your lap and throw herself backwards over and over again. I can always tell that she's made a fast break for a forbidden part of the house because I hear her hyperventilating with excitement and adrenaline. How precious and sinful they are from birth!
Annabeth still reminds me of a little doll when she locks her legs straight out in front of her. She's wearing shoes more often these days, not only because it's colder but also because winter clothes tend to be dressier. The Trumpette mary jane socks are starting not to fit very well. I will cry on the day I put those away.
Sister Girl is like her brother in many ways. First of all, she loves taking her bath. She scoots all over the tub and loves playing with the toys. Sometimes we put her in the water with Jackson and those might be her favorite moments in all of life. In keeping with her brother, she hates to get out and cries every time. I think Jackson may just now be growing out of that. I didn't see it, but Curtis told me she was putting her face in the bath water the other day. I may have another water bug on my hands. Like Jackson, she detests having her diaper changed and she normally flops around and whines while trying to grab the diaper and yank it away.
Annabeth is serious about her food, namely Cheerios. Lately she's gotten a little too ambitious with her self-feeding, stuffing multiple Cheerios in her mouth and then gagging on them. From her very first meal up until her dinner tonight, I've had to wipe one tear away from her eye before taking her out of the high chair. I don't know what it is, but eating makes her tear up. Apparently she's emotionally moved by the taste of baby food.
It's funny to think that if I want Annabeth to go to mother's day out next fall, I'll have to register her very soon. I don't feel ready. I can't imagine her going so young (she'll be 18 months). But Jackson went almost immediately after his first birthday and that wasn't really hard on me at all. It was a little bit. I guess I was more desperate then because I was still working at full time status. He also took a lot more of my energy. I discussed this with my mother and she thinks it's because Annabeth is a girl. Maybe I feel more guilt about eventually leaving her since she's more delicate in my eyes.
It's hard to imagine her that old. She's still so tiny that I can't even picture her walking. I know it will boggle my mind to see it.
Annabeth loves to clap. We've been trying to teach her to wave bye bye. Sometimes she gets it right but we think she believes she's waving when she's clapping. Last weekend at Colin's birthday dinner, Annabeth said "bye" to Colin's mom, plain as day. The next day she waved and said "bye bye." That has not been repeated but it had to have been legit. She says mama and dada from time to time. It's like she gets stuck on a particular sound for a few days and she forgets everything else. She's started clicking her tongue, which is funny.
This is very long, but I know I've forgotten a bunch of things. I recently went back and read all my posts from when she was born and from the following months. It reminded me of so many things I'd already forgotten. I'm thankful that even though they were long, overly-detailed posts, I have all of it written down. So if you're about to have a baby, I'd encourage you to keep blogging throughout those crazy first weeks. That time will be precious in your memories one day. I don't long to have another baby, but I do long to go back and spend those first moments with each of my children again, armed with the knowledge of how much we would grow to love and know one another.
All I can think to end with is this - isn't it an honor to be a woman? As hard as it is and sometimes unfair, we get a front row seat to see the magic of a life growing from tiny cells into a baby, a toddler, a preschooler, and so on. And to feel it all so fully! To others and often to ourselves our lives can look utterly mundane and common. Every day I load my babies in and out of my Jeep with my oversized purse and huge diaper bag falling down my shoulder and smacking into the baby's face. Meanwhile, junk falls out of the floor boards and onto the driveway, and I know another Chickfila receipt is going to wander into our neighbor's yard and, help me Lord, she's going to know that I didn't recycle it! My son has lost his shoes inside the car and I'm thinking "Calgon, take me away!" Only that's what they said in our moms' day and I don't even know if they make that anymore. But maybe I can find some Thomas the Tank Engine bubble bath in the kids' bathroom!
The thing is, God is using us to grow lives. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Stop and marvel at whatever new thing your three-year-old said or did today. In all likelihood (as long as it was pure and lovely, of course), he learned it from you! In case no one else says this to you today, well done mama. You're doing an important job and you will be richly rewarded, even if for the time being it's a big hug around the knees every time you have to wipe your preschooler's rear.