Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Happy birthday, Alice
Yesterday was Alice's first birthday. The main festivities took place on Saturday, when we somehow wedged about 30 people into our apartment (the crowd included six or eight children). Alice, looking like a confection in her pink sequined birthday dress, took it all in stride. We ordered a box-full of Chipotle burritos and hung up some pink and green streamers. There were balloons. Everyone who came was really nice and excited to see the baby. Before we had birthday cake I gave a little mini-speech about What It All Means, then we sang and Alice devoured her first bites of chocolate, quickly developing a dark brown goatee of frosting around her lips.
After it was all over -- after the guests had left, after our family members had decamped for their hotels in New Jersey -- we were exhausted. We were consigned to eat leftover burritos for the next six meals or so. A fitting coda to the night: Alice throwing up her cake and continuing to vomit sporadically all evening; an unopened bottle of wine somehow falling out of the refrigerator and shattering on the kitchen floor.
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Alice came into our lives. My memories of that day and the days that followed are so vivid, I can't believe we've gone through a whole year of seasons, changes, holidays. Like a friend told me today, with children the days are long and the years are short. I feel like my whole orientation towards life has changed since she was born -- what I consider important or meaningful, how I value my time, where I want to direct my energy and resources.
If it's hard to believe a year has passed, it's also difficult to overstate the joy she's brought into our lives. Tonight at dinner we were playing a little game where we were feeding each other Cheerios. I would open my mouth in an exaggerated way and say "aah" so that she could place the Cheerio inside. She opened her mouth to mimic me, and said "aah" in the exact same tone. She had never done that before. Then she would touch my finger with her finger and we would spend a few moments considering fingers. All of these little tiny doors opening, connections being forged, ideas linking together. It's like you can see her memories sharpening, her smiles becoming more genuine, her sense of herself and our family becoming more clear. It's still miraculous.