Today is stunningly gorgeous in the fair(ish) city of Chi. Like, running barefoot across the adjacent blanket in Millennium Park gorgeous. And then apologizing, for you were just trying to get a free bag of ComEd popcorn before the movie started. Which won't happen this year because the city hates my personal view of fun.
But I think you get the picture.
Sometimes days this lovely have the unexpected effect of making me sad. The 'early Sunday evening' or 'end of summer' kinda sad. And forget about an early summer evening at the end of August. My birthdays were always a major holiday in any house in which I've lived. The day itself caused jubilant explosions of awesome in my little mind- from the hour I would wake up [5am] to the last consciousness-fighting moment [2am]. Between wearing my purple and white striped skirt/top combo (which I wore every year until it went from "outfit" to "halter and "something trying to pass as a skirt"- awesome on a nine year old), and having my big sis Kate read the tale on the inside of the Super Mario Bros. Nintendo game (This is so true. I have no idea why but I flippin' loved that story), it was a truly terrific day. But somewhere in the midst of the strawberry cupcakes, NKOTB and Def Leppard dance parties, and parade of troll dolls, I'd get inexplicably sad. For a brief second I'd become all too aware that this day- my favorite- was here, it was almost over, and I'd never be farther away from it than I currently was. Silly, sure. But that's how I rolled. I was a silly roller.
This awareness has intensified over the years. But it's downright ridiculous these days. The other night as I was holding Nora and staring off into space, Peej snapped me back to attention by asking "You're sad because you love her too much, aren't you?" Which was embarrassing. Because it was true. And it had the effect of making me think harder about that, which just made me sadder. And then I teared up. And then P.J. laughed sympathetically and I laughed too, which made me cry a little harder- but now it wasextremely embarrassing to be laughing and crying. So I rubbed my eyes on Nora's belly and she let out this fabulous laugh combo of "Oh, you" and utter glee.
Which started me up again.
Is it possible to be seeing lightyears into a person's future and to be unquestionably in the moment? I think it is. I cannot believe that Nora is almost six months old- and, at the same time, she's only an infant. The stuff she's doing, seemingly overnight, is kinda astounding- I'm sure not to the world at large, but as the person who carried her and sees expressions and mannerisms of myself, my husband, my loved ones...it's sometimes a bit much, that reminder of Oh my God, we actually made a person, she's totally cool, and she can hold a fork like a human being!
Just wait, I can hear people thinking. Just wait until she starts to run/swim/do cartwheels/goes to college/moves away/has a baby/wins a Pulitzer/becomes President...but I don't need to wait. I can totally see it. I look at her and see a knowing look in her eyes- and then I wonder where that came from. I can call up- with total clarity- the moment that P.J. put her in my arms and I felt that soft skin against my cheek, nuzzled that stretchy pink hat against my nose. I have not forgotten the last night of my pregnancy, feeling her kick somewhere between my ribcage and my esophagus as I lay in bed and promised that I'd try to forgive her for this kinda stuff. Or the day that we first saw "her" in an ultrasound, this wide and gaping mouth singing an aria for her hands. It's been both an eternity andover in the time it takes a baby spoon to thwack to the floor.
Heck, I can see my wedding day. The yearlong engagement and making pivotal decisions over Mario Kart. The day we moved in together- with the strawberry patch and crabapple blossoms and the giddy decision to never move from that apartment ever ever ever. Or my 25th birthday, where an extremely intimidated Peej took me to a ritzy Armenian restaurant- where he felt out-classed and out-ethnicitied- but did it because a) he loved me and b) wanted to share my "culture." (And now, subsequently, can order lamajoon and kufta like a native.) Or the day I met a sweetheart of a 23 year old, with ears for listenin' and a wide smile. I can see my boyfriend. I can. And it jives in an instant with the cereal-feedin', trash totin', lawn tendin', drill carryin' guy I married, the one who sleeps best in complete solitude- but has fully accepted that his bed will always house two cats and two ladies who sleep like starfishes.
"And just wait," Peej told me last night as I was sorrowfully mashing my pillow (why are beds the primo locales for feelin' sad?) "Just wait," he said as he indicated Nora's room across the hall, "There are others we haven't even met."
Which was, at once, sad and wonderful and exhilarating and terrifying and romantic and cool.
Kinda like my birthdays. And my twenties. And this clean-slate of a day with my fabulously teensy and wonderfully growing wee babe.
So I'll go and enjoy it. Fully. I'll dress her up in something a little ridiculous and take her into the sunshine that she fears so much. I will quite possibly nap with her on a bed that has not been made- and might not be made any time in the near future. And later, when she falls asleep and I begin to mourn the ending of a day that promises to abut a rainy Friday- I'll try to keep it in check. There's nothing that keeps me in the moment quite like the aftermath of a baby's day.
At least 'til she hits 13.
Oh my God.