A year ago tonight was the last regular night I would have as a mama of one.
I came home from a long day at work, ate dinner, put Eliza to sleep and watched the Olympics.
The next day, July 31, I spent with Eliza. We went out to lunch, and went shopping for a toy for Eliza to give to the new baby. She picked out two toys – a circle chew toy made up of wooden colorful balls and a lovey bunny – and chowed down on Mac n Cheese. She fell asleep in her stroller as we walked back to the car. Later that afternoon, we went to the park, just the two of us. She was very interested in dandelions and we picked a bunch of them and I watched her laugh and giggle and roll down a grassy hill. I was so acutely aware of the fact that it was one of the last times I would be able to spend time with Eliza without worrying about taking care of a newborn, and it was a very bittersweet realization. I remember thinking I should focus on the moment, and enjoy every second with my beautiful girl, and I did. I really believe I had a premonition about what was about to happen.
Later that night around 10:00 p.m., my water broke. I was sitting on the couch, watching the U.S. women’s gymnastics team competing for a gold metal (I later found out they won) and shifted my body to one side, and felt a little bit of water trickle down my thigh. It was a familiar feeling – in fact, it’s exactly the same thing that happened to me when I had Eliza – but I was still in disbelief and went to the bathroom to check. I was shaking when I came back downstairs and told Evan what was happening. About 13 hours later, I met Lily for the first time.
Delivering a second child is such a different experience from the first. In many ways, it is so much better. It’s easier knowing what to expect, and it tends to happen much more quickly. But what was so much harder for me was the fact that I was worrying about how Eliza would react to being a sister, and mourning the end of our relationship as only-child mother and daughter.
Of course, Eliza reacted fine. She adored Lily from the start, and is a very involved, protective, loving and hands-on big sister. Her current favorite activity is holding Lily’s hands as she walks around the room. Evan and I have loved watching the sisters’ relationship blossom, and we especially love hearing Eliza say Lily’s name (“Wiwy”) and hearing Lily say Eliza’s name as one of her first words (“Ee-la-la”).
I have also loved being a mom of two. Lily has brought such joy to our lives.
But, on this birthday eve, eve, I am reflecting on our family of three and how different life was a year ago.
I would never want to go back. But it was a very sweet time in my life that I will always treasure.