My brother and his girlfriend Jane landed in California last Wednesday night and we spent a few days at home before zipping up to Muir Beach for a wedding. It was our first time leaving Sophie for an extended amount of time with anyone other than my mom, and Rob and I had such an amazing time with some of our friends at one of the dreamiest weddings I’ve ever attended.
We rented a sweet little cottage on Airbnb that felt like a treehouse, surrounded by greenery with a big kitchen and little bedrooms. On Saturday we woke up to chilly morning, headed out for a hike through the woods, stopped for really bad coffee at a roadside stand, and returned for a brunch of bacon and eggs and cinnamon rolls. Sophie is a lot more work these days, but also so much more fun than she was the last time Sean and Jane visited us in California—they came for Christmas last year and she was just a snoozy little newborn who slept on us and cried without ceasing almost every evening from 5-9 PM. We didn’t sleep much, but daily down time was abundant.
Sean would stay up late with Rob for the “night shift,” go to bed at 2 or 3 AM, and then wake up early with me at 6:00 for the day. I’d nurse Sophie on the couch as he puttered around in the kitchen, making coffee and toasting sourdough in the oven. It was a challenging season but I knew even as it was happening that I’d look back on it and remember it with a full heart.
The early morning egg sandwiches, late-night beers and episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. How I went to bed at 10:00 on New Year’s Eve and set an alarm for 11:45, stumbled out into the living room where the four of them were parked on the couch, drank half a glass of champagne, kissed my husband and baby, and was back in bed by 12:01. Sophie’s first smile—I think it was January 1st or 2nd. She changed so much every day and by the time we were dropping them off at the airport to catch their flight back to Richmond, she already seemed like a different baby.
And now we’re just a couple page turns of a calendar away from her first birthday, and she says “mama” and “dada” and “nana” and “bubba” and she sings and laughs and eats and claps and waves and stands up and sleeps. Autumn always turns me into a nostalgic puddle of emotions, but this one is especially touching. Last year I was physically slowing down more every day, feeling her roll around inside me every day, moving our things into the house we’d bring her home to, putting the crib together, washing her tiny socks and hats and onesies, feeling all the pre-baby anticipation as we lit fall candles and vacuumed the floor. I cooked and baked and froze everything, packing the freezer full of casseroles and hash browns and Christmas cookies that I knew I’d want but may not be able to make.
Some days it feels like she’s been here forever, but today, on the first of October—the last first month for Sophie—I remember waiting to meet her, my heart and eyes overflowing with those first few notes of Dear Theodosia, sitting quietly in the rocking chair with my morning coffee, imagining what it would be like to hold her in my arms.