On Saturday, I celebrated my 34th birthday. Other than the fact that I am so far away from my family and friends, it was a perfect day.
I remember my birthday last year -- right after our third failed IVF -- when Greg tried his best to make it special for me. We went to Dallas for the weekend and right there in the Stonebriar Center mall, I saw a T-shirt in the window at the Motherhood store and burst into tears.
But this year, I only have tears of joy. I have spent birthdays in London and Paris and Florence. I've seen wonderful shows, gone to fabulous concerts, dined in gourmet restaurants, shopped til I dropped. Over ther years, I've been treated to scrumptous desserts, breathtaking views and been surrounded by family and friends, I've been given thoughtful gifts and spoiled rotten with pampering. Still, this birthday was the best of my life -- though we didn't do anything extravagant or even anything out of the ordinary. We went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and we did a little shopping. But, it was a great day spent with my loving husband and our precious son.
Greg asked me last week what I wanted for my birthday. I told him I didn't want any gifts, but a full night's sleep would be nice. So, Friday night, after feeding Andrew and settling him in his little bed, Greg tucked me into our bed and went to the guest room down the hall, where he pulled night duty with Andrew.
I would say I slept like a baby, but I've learned that babies tend to be restless sometimes -- making all kinds of noises and movements in their sleep. So, I'll say I slept like a dog -- because Brody can sleep anywhere through anything. I awoke around 7:30 a.m. feeling like a new woman.
Greg had made it through the night relatively unscathed. When I opened the guest bedroom door, Andrew was lying on Greg's chest being a little wiggle worm and poor Greg was trying to keep his eyes open. I took Andrew and got him to sleep and spent the morning dozing in my husband's arms. It was a great way to start my birthday.
The miracle is that last night, after a great day, Greg decided to do the whole thing over again. And I let him. I figure I've got five long nights ahead of me. I should take advantage of Super Dad while I can. So I got another full night's sleep. What a difference!
My birthday was filled with so much love -- phone calls and e-mails and facebook messages from friends and family -- gifts from my family (my sister got me a Nook!), flowers from my dear cousin, a visit from my neighbor Sara, and at the end of the day -- my very first card that said "Mommy" and a sweet gift from Andrew. I told Greg -- I said no gifts! His response was that the gift wasn't from him it was from Andrew.
I had a personality bead necklace and bracelet when we lived in Italy, long before they became so popular here in the states. I filled them with charms that I purchased on our travels -- there's a Union Jack flag for our trip to London, the boot of Italy, a bunch of grapes, the Eiffel tower, a German edelweiss flower, an abstract one that represents the wave in Malta that nearly swallowed Greg and took him out to sea, a lemon representing Sorrento and there are many others -- all special and all reminders of wonderful memories. When Andrew was born, Greg gave me a new charm -- a mother and child -- and last night, Andrew gave me another. It's a heart that says "best mom." Of all the charms on my bracelet, these are the most precious.
Since Andrew was born, I've spent a lot of posts talking about the practical things -- like feeding problems and fussiness. Perhaps I've failed to give voice to the tender small moments that are so filled with joy and love. Everyday, I look at Andrew and something will jump out to me -- the perfect little peaks of his top lip, the two dimples that dance around his mouth or the yummy little folds of skin on his neck.
I held Andrew in my arms last night as he drifted off to sleep. I tried again to memorize his tiny little face. I was paying particular attention to his tiny little eyebrows and eyelashes -- most of the time they are so blonde that you can hardly see them. But last night the light was hitting his face in a way that made his eyebrows and eyelashes look like shiny threads of copper. My Rowan -- literally meaning "little red one" -- lying there in my arms. Complete joy. My cup runneth over.