I rang in the new year this year feeling completely awash in the reality of Julia; on New Year's Eve, a few minutes before midnight, I pulled her out of the pack and play so she'd be with us at the stroke of midnight. As soon as I had her in my arms it dawned on me that she had been with us at the stroke of midnight last year, and that at that same moment a year ago, I was already pregnant with her and didn't know it yet. And suddenly the miracle of life in all its magnitude blew me away all over again while Julia just kept sleeping in my arms, oblivious and swaddled, looking like a burrito.
Last weekend, on the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, I celebrated our one-year 'preg-iversary' (as one friend dubbed it) remembering that day last January that Sergio and I found out we were having a baby. That milestone being so close to the new year triggered lots of memories and so, like a rolling snowball or a pregnant belly that steadily increases in size, I have been recalling every stage of the pregnancy, the miraculous progression, the full range and spectrum of emotions, each season of the year, each "babymoon," each step along the way - step over step, step over step - that has brought us to today.
December marked the end of the phenomenal year of the baby. It also marked the end of the "fourth trimester," as it's known, and the start of January was roughly the half-way point in my gloriously long six-month maternity leave. So since the year began, I have slowly started thinking about work again. I am prepping myself to go back, reminding myself of the things I love about my job even though I know I'll spend the first days (weeks? months?) thinking only about Julia's every wiggle, giggle, and smell.
Which are the things that have filled up this long leave - they are the tiny, minute details that I spend the day collecting - sometimes with my camera, always with my head and heart. We have our daily activities and routines, which I will miss ... or to spin it more optimistically, our daily activities and routines which I am going to savor, relish, and wallow in for the next two months until I turn her over to Sergio for six months of quality time with Daddy.
Not just routines and activities but developments, too. Everyday it's something new. Learning to hold the teether and bring it to her mouth (if only for a second before she flails her arm out and sends the teether flying), learning new chatting and chirping and squealing and gurgling sounds, learning to grab and bat at the rattles hanging above her on the play mat.
There isn't a moment to lose with this little girl.
Julia having a lengthy conversation with herself in the mirror, reminiscent of that one scene in "Breakfast at Tiffany's."