I looked through the window the day she and the baby came home. She looked like a radiant combination of bewildered, exhausted, and happy. The house was decorated with pink balloons and “It’s A Girl” banners.
The big girl went to camp. She and the baby bonded at home. They went on walks. They watched Bravo. Family and friends visited. She sat at the table and wrote endless Thank you notes. I saw the joy in her eyes when the big girl came home from camp. They would bake together, the baby in the swing. She brought the baby over to join in on the fun. The duo quickly became a trio.
Sometimes she would cry. She loved the big girl. She missed her girl during the day. She cradled her baby. She would cry again because her baby brought joy. The hormones and sleep deprivation caused the ache of her maternal love to ooze everywhere.
She made a choice. She chose happy.
The first day of kindergarten arrived. She and her husband took pictures of the baby and the big girl. The big girl held the First Day of Kindergarten sign. The phones clicked. The perfunctory Facebook posts followed. The hugs. The kisses.
I saw her cry again. She dropped the big girl at kindergarten. She cried off and on all day. She texted with her friends and they smiled and laughed together as they counseled each other through the momentous day.
The year took off with dance, Daisies, and soccer. The homework tantrums. Bottle feedings. Diaper changes. She was still so happy. Her husband loved coming home to the calm joy of the happy trio.
One day I looked through the window and I noticed she was growing thinner. She was always thirsty and hungry. She stepped on the scale and cried. She mouthed to her husband, “Something’s wrong.”
A few days later something was different. They were different. A shadow of concern had darkened the joy in their eyes. Family members came to the house. She and her husband had many long talks on the couch. Still, I never saw her cry.
In fact, I never saw her again. They didn’t need me to look into their lives anymore. The cracks were filled. This change made them somehow better, stronger.
I heard from a distance about weddings, a trip to Disney World, holidays, dance recitals, and kindergarten graduation.
I had a vision of her on the baby’s first birthday. She was standing in the middle of her kitchen. A surge of strength and determination enveloped her body.
Her eyes dilated wide. She told the universe, “It’s time.”
She texted her friend and she typed, “Do you want to do this race with me?”
The next chapter began because of the year She chose happy.