Happy First Birthday Miss Caroline

It seems cliche to say that the year has passed so quickly, but it really has. When I look back on the year it is like a fast forwarded DVD zipping by at x8 and I can barely make out the various scenes. My once needy newborn Caroline is an independent little girl.

I suppose she was always independent (or at least she was thoughtful enough to give us a preview) beginning when she chose to arrive a week after we had expected her. Didn't she know we had a room for her, and diapers, and adorable carefully folded onesies, and that we had read the books, and we were both absolutely overwhelmed with the excitement of her arrival and scared out of our gourds that she actually might be born someday???

The moment she was born will always be one of the defining moments in my life, and I am sure in Steve's too, though we have never really talked about it in that way. Her birth awakened me to Steve's strength when he not only beared witness, but actively participated. Surely he was showing signs then too of the amazing, loving father he would become to our baby girl. In that defining moment, when she was laid on my chest and our eyes met, she stared into my very soul. The tears started then and they didn't stop, but they were tears of absolute joy and overwhelming happiness. She was here. Did anything else ever matter?

This year was full of lessons and I doubt I have ever or will ever learn as much in a year as I did in 2007. There are things that I will file away that we must remember for that mythical "next time," things that I will have stronger convictions for, things that I won't take quite as seriously, things that I would say and not say, things that I would do and not do... but mostly the lessons I learned were about life and love and family.

I watched her once deep dark blue eyes morph to a beautiful hazel green, which we only recently came to know belong not just to her, but also to my father. We analyzed her cute pointy brows and decided that they came from Kiki. I see her Auntie k's smiling cheeks when she grins at me. I see my brother's expressive wide eyes when she sits doe eyed sucking her thumb, watching me. We observe her picking up her food with her right hand and throwing a ball with her left, wondering still which hand is dominant. We watch and look and pick her apart, wanting to know how she came to be herself, but mostly she is just that, herself. I can see her father in the little dimple by the side of her mouth and I am sure he sees me in a way I don't know about, but Caroline is Caroline, a perfectly brewed mix of all the most important people in her life.

I am terrified of leaving this Earth. I am scared of what will happen. I hate knowing that there is a final day, minute, breath. I stand with her in my arms just up from a nap looking in the mirror at myself, a mother. I save this image, caroline.mommy.mirror.jpg, store it away and hope that in 30 years I will be able to recall it with the vividness I know I will long for then. I sit with her and stare into her eyes, listen to her breathing, rub her back, always mentally saving sweet sounds and images and the feel of her touch (until I get poked in the eye with a flying pointer finger!). I have the answer - what is the meaning of life? - this. Caroline. Family. Babies. Connections. This is what it must be all about because never have I experienced anything that makes me feel as spiritual as this. One look, one pant leg tug, one hand touching my page flipping fingers, one little sigh, one belly laugh, never has any one person held such an amazing grip on me and reminded me everyday that the stress of work, bills, housework means little at the end of day when compared with the countless joys which she brings into our home. One day, one year. She has made all the difference and I am forever grateful and hopeful.


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