Ah, happy little blog, I adore thee. You give me ample space to ramble on and on--and you readily accept my musings without edit or comment. No wonder so many people are prone to starting blogs: They make us feel like we have a place to store our thoughts and then send them out into the world--without having to come face-to-face with an audience. Maybe someone reads, maybe not. But I get to blather on to my (sometimes) imaginary audience without consequence (like someone stopping mid-post because I won't stop blathering and get on with the Hadley news already).
I really like new years. I think it's totally brilliant that the world travels 'round the sun in 365-day (or 366-day) increments, and we get to start over after each of those increments. I like the idea of a fresh slate, and I like anticipating what comes next.
But I also like to reflect. We English majors are really good at reflecting. So much of what we do is read stuff and then...reflect. Ponder. Ruminate. Contemplate. Deliberate. Go on and on and on in happy little blogs about how much we like to go on and on and on.
When I think about 2009, obviously I think about Hadley's arrival and the ways she has changed us--and not just the obvious stuff, like how I logged far fewer hours of sleep in 2009 than I did in 2008. She has changed how I see everything. I see her in everything. Oh, I don't mean that in a weird I-worship-my-child sort of way because I am not one of those moms. (You know the kind. You say, "Hey, I found a yummy new cheese shop on 6th Avenue," and one of those moms says, "Oh! Little Sabrina loves cheese!" Or you say, "I think I need to go to the dentist," and one of those moms says, "Oh! Little Sabrina got her second tooth three weeks ago last Tuesday!" And you roll your eyes because you just can't help it.)
No, I mean that my perspective is different. For example, I'm reading a book by Helene Cooper (NY Times journalist, former WSJ reporter) about her childhood in Liberia. She writes about how she was afraid to sleep alone at night when she was a kid because she was sure the heartmen (witch doctors) or the neegees (bad guys) were going to come steal her away in the night. Before Hadley, I would have related to being scared: I remember being a kid and not wanting to sleep alone in my room. But as I was reading, I felt a kind of motherly tenderness for this little girl, curled under her covers, sure that any moment, the bad guys would snatch her. I saw Hadley in that bed. My view is different.
And better. And also worse.
Better because it's pure joy to love someone the way a parent loves a child. And it's pure heartache. The world's messiness, the hurt and the stupidity and the selfishness, they're not just mine. They're Hadley's, too. (You can bet that means that I've been writing my elected officials with even more gusto since May 4.) While I used to relish political battles and laugh when our esteemed representatives in Washington messed up (Harry Reid all the time, say), now I cringe a little bit and I have to turn away because I don't want to think about Hadley having to deal with the inevitable results of stupidity and egomania that reign in Washington.
Sorry. I didn't mean to get so...riled up.
All this is just to say that I'm different in ways that surprise me. I knew I'd love our daughter; I just didn't realize how that love would transform me, in big and little ways.
And now--because I love lists--here is a summary of 2009: went to Florida, enjoyed a baby shower, finished the basement (nearly), missed skiing, ate an entire bag of salt-and-vinegar potato chips about three weeks from delivering and felt awful, became an avid fan of the prenatal massage, gave birth to Hadley, watched Jason transform into a daddy, heard my dad say "she's a beautiful baby" about an hour into Hadley's life, started a blog, learned how to breastfeed, remembered the words to songs I haven't sung in 25+ years, added a few recipes to my culinary repertoire, worried about copious amounts of spit-up, peeked through our big picture window to see my mom playing with Hadley--and felt grateful down to my soul, sent eight magazines to press, rolled my eyes at a few sassy designers, planted some plants, killed a few of those plants, teased Jason about my crush on Tim Tebow, wrote more than 10,000 words (some published, some not), made new friends, watched friends become parents, spent tons of time talking to Jill (new friend and new mom) about babies' sleep habits, held babies Annalea and Piper and Harper and Ben--and loved it, learned to draw boundaries around my family life, prayed that I would have the wisdom to raise Hadley to be a loving and wise woman, ate rabbit (just a tiny bite), watched Megan and Chad get married, enjoyed lots of meals lovingly prepared by other people, introduced Hadley to dozens of people who loved her before they even knew her, schlepped Hadley and her stuff to San Francisco, cried hard (and often), laughed harder (and more often)--and fell deeply in love with a person I didn't know and couldn't have imagined a year ago.
Yes, 2009 was a very good year.
And this time next year, I hope to be able to add one more thing to my 2010 list: Slept through the night.