valentina at 11 months

9:47 AM

I was driving to the post office with Valetina the other day. It was a bright and frigid November day and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's rendition of "Christmas Canon" was on the radio (yes I snuck in a few Christmas songs). It was after lunch but before the school bus rush so the roads were mostly empty, save for a truck or two. With each subsequent verse of the song I could feel a lump forming in my throat. It eventually grew into a boulder and rolled into my chest. That weight of emotions inside me pinned me to the seat as my memory raced back in time...
It was around this time of year that I had gone into prodromal labor, not knowing whether we would get to meet our baby by Thanksgiving or it's due date - December 11. There were many car rides like this one, except then I was clutching my swollen belly, feeling my baby writhe inside me. I told everyone I could tell she wanted to get out. Sometimes late at night when I would be up with contractions I would tell her that I know she's being a good girl for mama and making sure she doesn't have a Christmas birthday but could she give mama a rest?? Just tonight? I remember the anxiety laced with excitement but apprehension too that hung thick around our house. We didn't know what to expect and we didn't know when to expect it. So we waited and waited.
As tears began to sting my eyes I had to smile as I heard a sweet voice saying "mama, mamamamamama" from the backseat. How far have we all come since those November days. As "Christmas Canon" gave way to "Please Come Home For Christmas" my heart began to swell with joy. We made it. She came and not a minute late but on her due date! Delivery is behind us and though there are some things I miss about having a newborn the constant stress is not one of them. It's nice to know this little bundle now, to know what makes her happy and how to save us all from a meltdown. To know her favorite toy, show, song and snack. There's nothing like those firsts but the familiarity that has grown between all three of us over these eleven months is something incredible too. Thank you darling for not being a Christmas baby after all, or a Thanksgiving one, thank you for just being you!

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