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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Love and Light

On this night last year, I had to stop eating and drinking at midnight, to prepare for my scheduled C-section the next morning.

I couldn't wait. I was so excited to meet this little person who had been kicking and growing impressively over the last nine months. This was a person who we thought we'd lost in early pregnancy, only to demonstrate a marvelous, tear-inducing heartbeat two weeks later.

My bags were packed, I double-checked the cord blood collection kit a dozen times, and Aunt Stella was staying the night so Hub-D and I could nip out in the early morning before Chebbles and Gigi woke up.

The next morning, I was practically honking the horn in the car, so impatient for Hub-D to get in the car and head to the hospital. I kept thinking, "This is it. I'm going to MEET HER!" And there was so much joy in that car. Of course I drove; I would have gone mad if anyone else had.

Then I was in the hospital, checked in, disrobed, strolling into the operating room. This was IT. I was going to meet my daughter.

They started the incision at 8:30am and this marvelous baby was out, and squawking by 8:37am.

I heard her get increasingly pissed off as they weighed her (9 lbs., 5 oz.!) and measured her and gave her a cursory cleaning. And then I saw her, and she saw me, and we both knew it was time to get DOWN TO BUSINESS and nurse. She was hungry.

Once she had had her fill, she lit up the recovery room with her dimple, her overwhelming sense of peace, of discovery, and solidity. She was here. She was among us. She was the first person I'd ever met who filled up a room with happiness just by entering it. Love and Light. That's what I kept thinking as I studied this child's face, which looked hilariously similar to her father's, Love and Light.

She and I holed up together in the hospital, staring at each other, nursing nursing nursing, getting jaundice (silly baby) and sleeping curled up together.

Then we launched for home and joined the pack, the proud family who has admired and doted on our Lai from the moment she hit the doorstep.

Tonight at dinner, Lai's last supper as an 11-month-old (pasta, zucchini, steamed carrots), Gigi took little bits of her own food and crumbled it onto her little sister's tray. We feed our Lailai. Even when I gave Gigi some of the failed birthday cake, she took a precious morsel from that chunk and gave it straight to the baby.

Yes, we feed our Lailai. We wake up in the morning and feed the Lai, we putter around the house and give Lai a Snack Trap filled with cereal. We feed her a three-course lunch, I nurse her twice a day now, and there are two bottles of goat milk formula thrown in the mix as well. Then if dinner is pasta, just start shoveling it onto her tray and don't stop. Or face the same shrieks I heard after she was born.

We feed the baby, and she feeds us. Today at a playground, another mother and I were regarding Lailai together, and I told her,  that this child brought me a remarkable sense of peace with her nativity, and she grounds our whole family. No matter what else is happening, we agree that Lai gets love and grub whenever she needs it.

And she is evolving into this marvelous little girl, breaking free of her babydom in new ways every day. She can walk several steps on her own now. She cut one of her top teeth this past week. She can say Daddy, Doggie, Mama, Lailai and a bunch of other things we haven't deciphered yet.

This child weighs more than 25 pounds now, and wears 18 month clothing. And every morning when I walk in to retrieve her from her crib, where she is singing and banging around and having a high old time, she bounces and grins, just radiating joy, filling up every corner of the house with Love and Light.

Lai! Happy birthday!
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