January 31, 2006. It was my last day at work before I went on maternity leave (for the second time). I had it all figured out. Little N would not go to pre-school for a month (no biggie when you are only three and a half). She and I would spend a fun couple of weeks together at home, just the two of us, before baby (due on Valentine’s Day) arrived. My parents would arrive in a week’s time, just in time to greet the new arrival. I was a pro at this, and felt super organized and in control.
Little N and I had exactly two fun days at home. I took her to the hairdresser and she got a cute new haircut (the only time ever that she sported “front bangs”). We went to Toysrus and bought several Thomas the Tank Engine trains and Curious George books that caught her fancy. We lazed around in the cold afternoons reading and cuddling. Like I said, this lasted all of two days.
I woke up at 4 am on Friday, February 3, 2006 feeling mildly uncomfortable. Called my doctor’s office and he advised me to come to the hospital to get checked out. Unsually bright-eyed for 4 am, the three of us (not quite a family of four yet) headed out to the hospital. Half-way there, I made N turn back to pick up our camera and camcorder (cam-cams, as I used to call them then). Just in case baby decided to arrive early. After getting checked out, I asked the doctor when I should plan to come in next to see him. He replied, “You are going nowhere, my dear. This baby is coming soon.”
Come soon, she did. At 11:59 am, that same day. My little A. In my mind, she’s still that good-natured little baby who constantly smiled at us when she was just a couple of months old, and loved to play endless games of peekaboo that usually ended with her gurgling laughter. Hard to believe that it’s been eight years already. Today, she looks soooo grown-up when she painstakingly works on her art projects for hours, and patiently explains (and re-explains) how to create lovely things on her rainbow loom (even though it takes my art-challenged mind forever to comprende). But, I do still get my daily dose of hugs and cuddles, and am verrrry thankful that she and little N are not too big for that stuff yet.
Happy birthday, my sweet valentine! May this be your best year yet!