It’s two years today since I saw your face for the first time Audrey. It was 8:22 pm on a Saturday night, September 20th. My labor had started the Friday before at around 6 pm. 26 hours of long, hard labor. A random stranger congratulated me as I was being wheeled out of the delivery room with you in my arms. It was by far the proudest moment of my life.
And your dad…it was the happiest time of his life. You introduced a new smile to his repertoire. It was the one just for you.
Once you were born, your dad would often say to me, “Isn’t she the best? Isn’t she just…amazing?” We’d be out to dinner- the few times we got a chance to- just the two of us, and he would inevitably start saying something like this. He simply adored you.
Today was quieter than yesterday but still quite full.
When you woke up I had your play kitchen covered in a sheet in the living room. You were so cute trying to uncover it and wound up with your whole body under the sheet examining the kitchen. I had to take it off. You were dancing around saying, “lit ul kichen!” Then you and I got out the tea set you received yesterday and had our first mother/daughter tea party at your little table and chairs.
Then we met up with your play group at the playground since that’s one of your favorite places. On the walk there- a beautiful butterfly. We brought mini cupcakes to share. There were a few moms there that I hadn’t seen yet…and it was a bit awkward. I felt as though everyone scattered away from me in the beginning and it was hard. I am the one no one knows what to say to. But Audrey enjoyed herself, and later one of the moms told me her husband, who is a pediatric dentist, wanted to offer his services to Audrey for free. Tears came right away.
I was thinking earlier today how I might not cry for a long time, but whenever someone does something loving and humbling to me- the tears come so quickly. I think the love of others brings out this strange mixture of sadness, humility, and gratitude that keeps you from getting bitter. It is very painful and very important to be loved while you are grieving.
After Audrey’s nap, my friend and neighbor who lives below us decided to invite some of the moms from this morning for an impromptu party for A. We brought our party hats from yesterday and Audrey got balloons and another round of “Happy Birthday” which elicited screams of “Caaayyke! Eat Caaaayyke!”
Then she got to open up a few more presents at home that I’d stashed away from friends. And then “pizza pie!” at her request with grandma and grandpa at a local restaurant.
After we ate, we got to see the moon across the river over Manhattan- and then we looked for Jupiter, which I’d heard would be visible tonight with the naked eye. And we saw it low in the sky in the east with a slightly red glow around it. I like that there was something special astronomically on your birthday Audrey.
I am very, very tired now. I will download some of the photos I took so that I can send them to my in-laws because I know it’ll make them very happy to see what a great birthday you had.
I kneeled beside you before you went to bed and took a moment to remember your dad. I thanked him for giving you to me. I told you that even though he couldn’t be here, “Appa loves you soooo much,” and that I’d have to give you hugs and kisses for him and I kissed your neck, and you giggled. I thought about how you are his- again it struck me as a new concept- I just always think of you as Audrey…but to think that you have his blood and my blood running through your little veins is miraculous to me. I thought about love and how if love is giving with no expectation of return- I can certainly continue to love your dad. He used to always tell me he would die for me…and I know it was true. I then used to say, “But will you live for me?” That is all I can do now…I can love you with my life. I just have to figure out what that means practically. I know the past few days it meant planning a special birthday celebration for our daughter. And as time moves on, I will let that be my guide- loving you with my life. I will still love you. It will be different and there will be no expectation of any return- but perhaps it will be truer- purer love than before.
I wondered today if there will be babies or children in heaven or on the new earth if we are immortal? What age will everyone be? Will women give birth or was all of that just a part of the Fall? If there is no more aging, will everyone be the same age? What of people that died at different ages? Babies and children die- old people die. If a baby dies and goes to heaven, does he remain a baby in heaven, does he grow up, or does he become a perfect age?
Thank you Dan for giving me Audrey. I know it was scary taking on all of that responsibility, especially when you had goals you were still trying to achieve. I can remember taking a walk with your mom and she asked when I was going to have a baby. I told her that I really wanted to but you weren’t ready and I didn’t want to force you. “Oh no, you have to force him,” she said immediately and nonchalantly. I remember that made me laugh. I know I put the pressure on, but she is definitely worth it no? So thank you again for my beautiful girl, and for helping me bring her into the world two years ago today. I couldn’t have done it without you by my side.