So typical for the second child. Here it is, two days after her birthday, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it! I am at the moment typing while Sam is engrossed in his Geotrax movie (poor guy has a cold and a fever), and Caroline happily entertaines herself on the floor with a Nerf ball. She's regularly standing up on her own now and we've glimpsed a step or two, but nothing dramatic. She's a very careful little girl - so unlike her brother - and always tests, watches, observes, thinks about...and then she finally tries it. I'm convinced that one day she'll just up and walk across the room.
On the day of her birthday, I woke up early to go for a swim and had some time to reflect while driving in the cold to the pool. I had a lot to digest regarding Caroline's first year.
I was thinking about how gentle Caroline's entry into the world was, how unobtrusive. It was hesitant, too, waiting for just the right moment. She faked me out regularly for about two weeks before she finally decided to come, and even then she took a little break to let me watch Grey's Anatomy the evening I was in labor. Just like her...careful, observant, even thoughtful in a way one wouldn't normally think a baby could be.
I thought about how her infancy will always be tied to losing my mom. Her birth was the very last time my mom would come up to Seattle to visit, although I didn't know it at the time. When she was 5 months, she was a model car passenger and guest on a last family trip to Sunriver. I love looking at the picture our friend Pam took of me laughing with Mom while nursing Caroline. She was so remarkably flexible during our trips up and down I-5 during the fall, and a solid anchor for me to my family when Mom died in October. What is truly amazing, though, is that she has managed to both keep me human and sane during a time in childrens' lives that most parents report feeling exactly the opposite. How this happened, how I was sent the perfect baby for the perfect moment, is nothing short of a miracle to me.
So, Caroline, while I drove to swim and turned all of this over in my head, I saw that the sunrise was coming over the horizon and tinting the scant clouds pink, and the cherry blossoms were just beginning to peek out from their places on the trees. And I realized that every year on your birthday I will remember how no matter how dark and long the winter, spring is coming. There may be a few more cold snaps and surprises, but it's coming just as sure as those blossoms will eventually become flowers. Babies always grow, things always change, trees always bloom, hearts always heal. You have helped me realize that this year. I don't know what I would have done without you.