Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to You: 2 YEARS OLD

Dear Anabella,

Yesterday you turned 2 years old.

As I type you are climbing in your new little chair, a gift from me and Dad, wearing your paper birthday crown (yes, still), your feather boa and chattering away contentedly to yourself. Happy, curious, talkative, adorable. Two. Two!

There were several moments this week, leading up to your big day, when I was literally stopped in my tracks with a racing heart and breathless disbelief that the day was going to come. That we'd gather as a family and sing happy birthday to you for the second time. Already? How?

This was a good week. You were feeling well after months of struggling with an on again, off again cough and cold. We finally dosed you with antibiotics and holy wow! Thank you modern medicine! Suddenly you were yourself again. We shared snuggles, and fits of laughter, tickle fights, and quiet moments just sitting close. These magical moments make me want to hit the pause button and freeze time. Stay like that, happy and laughing and so in love with you right then and there, just like that, forever.

But at the same time that thinking makes me recoil at the inappropriateness of it. Because for so many moms and babies in this world, those moments to get frozen way too soon. A horrible thing happened in Haiti this month and it's shaken me to the core. Not only because of the sheer unimaginable horror of it all, but because we were together on that very island only three days before the earthquake hit. We shared one of the most beautiful weeks of my life on that very island that today has been utterly devastated by the very same nature that we were frolicking in mere days beforehand.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that even though I wish at times that I could keep you small and sweet forever, I do not for one moment take for granted the absolute privilege that it is to watch you grow. Not even the tantrums or the "NO MOMMIES" or the 500,000 episodes of Dora (Doo doo doo Dora doo doodoodoodoo Dora) that you make us watch over and over and over.

Two years ago yesterday at approximately 4:30pm, I looked down into your tiny, perfect little face and held your fresh, warm body against my chest and I thought, in that moment, that it would not be possible to feel a love any greater than I did right then. I thought, utterly incorrectly, that if we could freeze that moment I'd have already reached my capacity for happiness. But that wasn't true. Because today I love you a billion times more. Every day I love you more and more.

Happy birthday Bella.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

If You Like Pina Coladas

Just got back from a week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and our first international family vacation. Suffice it to say that we had an amazing time and that all of us needed the getaway and the week to just unwind, reconnect and relax.

And relax we did. Especially my Bella. My shy, reserved, cautious little girl took to the new routine (or lack there of), the sand and surf as I should have known any child of mine would. I could literally see her shedding her shell and letting loose almost as soon as we arrived. She was all smiles, giggles and unbridled joy as she frolicked in the ocean, rolled in the sand, and perhaps best of all, danced and danced to the sounds of the salsa and merengue that was the backdrop to our seven days and nights.

The affects of a whole week, just the three of us, with nothing to do but be together, unburdened by work and chores and our busy city life can not possibly be summed up or demonstrated any better than by this video, shot in front of an airport full of people as we waited to board our plane and fly home. My girl, unselfconscious and as carefree as any toddler should be, shaking what her mama gave her, dancing like there was nobody on earth but her and us. Making my hopes for her come true, even if just for a few blissful moments: