It is 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday and I am needlessly awake and feeling jittery. Today is Clara's birthday.
A year ago today, I woke up early as well but I was in Texas. I think I trembled that entire day and I was all nerves and adrenaline and fear and pleading with Heavenly Father for everything to go well for everybody - the baby, Kayli, me, Paul who was in California, the doctors and nurses, Kayli's family, even Clara's birthfather who I have never met.
I felt alone a lot that day and oh how I wished Paul could have been there with me. I don't know how he sat at his desk at his new job at a big law firm where he had started just two weeks prior and focused on assignments and billable hours. I felt alone waking up in beautiful enormous Texas home that was not my own where I was staying with friends of Kayli's family from church and getting ready to drive a rental car by myself to Kayli's, then to the birthing center, then to the hospital. I felt alone gathering up the tiny clothes for the little baby who I knew would change my life forever and putting them into a bag to sit on the seat beside me for company while I drove.
I felt so alone standing in the sterile white hallway of the hospital with my bluetooth earpiece in and camera in hand waiting for Clara to be born by c-section just fifteen feet away from me but separated by two doors through which I was not allowed to pass. When a tearful Kayli was wheeled out of the operating room and past me to her room, I felt like I couldn't breath because my chest was so tight with the love and worry I had for her. Because I was pretty sure that she, more than any other person, felt the way I felt that day. At least, if I were in her place, even surrounded by doctors and nurses and parents who loved me, I think I would have felt alone. And alone is often a difficult place to be by one's self.
I woke up today thinking about Kayli and how much we love her. She won't be here for the little party we are having for Clara later today with friends, but I think I will carry her around in my heart all day. I will also be thinking about Kayli's mom and the special moments we had together in the days leading up to Clara's birth, those few minutes when we stood together in the hallway before she went in to be with Kayli during the birth, and the days after Clara's birth when she gave me lessons in infant sponge bathing and fingernail clipping. And each of Kayli's siblings and her dad have been on my mind this morning too. I got to know them all pretty well during the month that I was there and I wonder if they woke up this morning remembering that today is Clara's birthday.
My mind was reeling last night while looking at Clara sleeping in her crib so peacefully oblivious that today is her special day. She takes up serious real estate in her crib these days and I don't know how she got so big, so fast.
I wonder if I will feel bittersweet about all her birthdays like the way I felt on the actual day of her birth as well as this morning. It is after 6:00 now and Paul is holding Clara on his lap and she is learning back against him and grinning at the video of she and I on the trampoline, which they are watching on his iPhone. So I'm going to post this blogpost, even though there are a hundred other things it feels like I meant to say - or maybe I just am not satisfied that I said what I originally wanted to say well enough. Either way, today is Clara's day, and it is time to celebrate.