It seems like just a few minutes ago we were pulling up to our South Florida apartment with our brand new, 7 pound 6 ounce Eilis, wrapped in a bili-blanket due to her jaundice, tiny and wrinkly, an odd shade of yellowish red. It was a scary time for me – and a bit of a sad time. My parents were in New Jersey, and no one was there for her arrival. After 36 hours of labor and a couple of failed attempts at an epidural, I was wheeled into the OR for a c-section at 2 AM on the morning of February 15th. At 2:36 AM, she made her arrival, wiggly and crying. I spent more than 9 years waiting for her to arrive – much longer than the 36 hours or the 9 months. She was the realization of a dream.
I have to admit, there have been times when it feels like the dream is a nightmare. Eilis is strong willed, determined, stubborn, headstrong – all the things I so want her to be when she grows up. There are days when I am so grateful for those characteristics, and I imagine her being successful in the business field or as a trial attorney. There will be no clawing her way to the top – Eilis will trample right over people and thumb her nose at them on the way through. Of course, these characteristics make it a challenge to be her parent. But there are days when she rewards me with such wonderful gifts – a few minutes of a cuddle, an I love you, a cup of imaginary tea. I know I might have three or four days in a row where she’s wearing me down, but on the fifth day, she’ll climb into my lap to cuddle and ask for a story to be read to her. It’s a gift she has to help the memories of the written on walls, the emptied out dresser drawers, the ball thrown at her sister fade that much quicker.
In just five days, Eilis will be five. It’s been a roller coaster ride from day one. Some of the hills are pretty steep to climb, but once you get to the top, the thrills that await you cause your heart to race, your stomach to churn, your eyes to squint, and your whole being feels awake and alive. I love that feeling. I love this kid.