On Wednesday night at 9:48pm, I became an aunt for the very first time to a beautiful baby girl, named Grace Elizabeth. She surprised us all 3 weeks early, but I think she just really wanted to make a dramatic entrance on her first Mother’s Day.
While she is just one of the many babies being born in my life right now, of course, she is by FAR my favorite. She is 6lbs 10oz and 20 inches of pure joy. Here’s just a few of the thousands of reasons why:
1) From the minute I saw her, less than an hour old, she was pink. Perfectly pink like every little girl should be.
2) She has very long fingers, so delicate you can’t even believe there are any bones in them. But she’s strong too, especially when she does not want to stick her arm inside her onesie, or keep her fingers inside her mittens, or her feet inside her socks. No doubt she will be tall, and artistic with hands like she has.
3) She has the most adorable dimple on her right cheek, just like her daddy. And watching my little brother (who’s a very big 6’5”) care for this little peanut is so sweet and gentle, it brings tears to my eyes in the best possible way.
4) Her hair. As a baby, I was bald until I was about 9 months old (I’ve made up for lost time, tenfold). My brother, on the other hand, was born with a good amount of black hair, that later turned orange-ish (the Turnip Phase, as it is affectionately known in my family), which then settled on the most gorgeous platinum blonde by the time he was about 3 months old. His daughter, is the perfect middle ground -- light blonde downy fuzz around the edges, and silky soft light brown hair all over her head. No turnips here -- that must be my sister-in-law’s good influence!
5) I remember the stories of the day I was born, hearing that my grandmother and my father got soaking wet in the hospital parking lot from all the rain that day. The same thing happened to me the night Gracie was born as I was leaving the hospital. The downpour made me smile and feel like my grandmother, her great-grandmother, was still here, watching over us.
Lots of surreal memories swirl in my head from a day that began with a 5:30am phone call and ended at 3am the next morning when I fell asleep on my brother’s couch in Connecticut. I remember seeing “Deadliest Catch” playing on the TV in the unfamiliar hospital waiting room as I sat alongside a concerned father who would later be sent home for the 3rd time as his single daughter left with false labor pains. I remember getting text message updates from my brother throughout the day and night, which I then relayed by phone to my parents all the way in Florida and by email to my aunt in New York, realizing what a blessing technology can be, wondering how people ever managed without this kind of lifeline. I remember getting cash from the ATM and offering it to my brother, as if he was going to tip the doctors after delivery for a job well done.
I remember sitting downstairs with him in the small window of time he had after my sister-in-law was given an epidural, as he ate a turkey wrap in about 3 bites -- looking in one second like a little boy, and in another like a grown man -- his face full of awe, excitement, and exhaustion. I remember as a new mommy, daddy, and baby slept in the hospital, I came back to their quiet house, with everything still frozen in the bright disarray of a surprise 4am water breaking. And finally, I remember that their cat saw this as his opportunity to mess with me by throwing up all over the house (fyi, the cat and I are still not speaking).
I sat in the hospital, waiting for the news, my mind wandering to the other newborns in the nursery. There were 7 altogether, including Gracie, 3 girls and 4 boys. I couldn’t help but wonder if all these babies, were bonded in some way -- linked for coming into the world at the same time, laying side by side. I wondered where life would take them, who they would become.
As I leaned against the glass, I wished them health, I wished them happiness, and I wished them love.