As I sit here with Elizabeth nestled on my chest, it is hard to believe this year began without even the tiniest presence of her, not even a glimmer. Yet here she is, solid and warm and snuggly.
In some ways it was a year of waiting—waiting for Brian to finish with school, waiting to be ready to try again, waiting out my pregnancy. All that waiting was worth it. Brian graduated in May and has been working as a nurse. He's still hoping for a full-time position in a hospital that will give him the experience he feels he needs, but for now he's working, gaining experience, feeling like he is doing his job again after two years of school. Since he's been out of school, we've had more family time for walks and hikes and visits and meals and play. And of course, Elizabeth is here and healthy and settling right in to our family.
Waiting for her had me looking ahead but also had me firmly planted in the present, watching, soaking in Kathleen and her rapid change. At the beginning of this year she was just starting to totter about. Now she runs and jumps (with both feet off the floor) and dances and climbs. She shouts, "Mine," and sometimes shares. She reads, cooks me water on her play stove, delights in her swing, and wants to hold her baby sister. She seems to have gotten bigger and sturdier in the past two weeks as we remembered just how little newborns, even those who start out over 8 lbs, are. I can hardly comprehend that two years ago she nestled on my chest like this. Two years ago, she was this small. Two years already—just two years.
As this year winds down, I am remembering how to be ambidextrous—how to cut my dinner, sign my name, and do most anything with my left hand if the baby is sleeping or nursing on the right. I've learned that football hold is good for avoiding pressure on an incision, but also for making more room in a lap. Along with Good Night, Moon and The Big Red Barn, I've now memorized The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Kathleen's current favorite (bunny book!). I'm finding time in my day for two little girls who need to eat and be held and changed and sung to. We are shuffling things around making room for baby gear and two sets of diapers and 0-3 clothes along with 2T clothes. We've made room in our house for two and room in our hearts for three.
I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting about 2010, but as I sit here with this snuggly girl breathing sleepily on my chest listening for my big girl to wake up from her nap, I know I remember what matters.