There are four days left before Bubby's birthday. And I'm not ready.
I'm not ready in the sense that we haven't planned her party. I'm not ready in that we haven't chosen a gift for her. I'm not ready in that I haven't done a test-run on a gluten-free cake and icing (oh yeah, we're gluten-free again, and it's a whole thing but that's for another post).
But I'm also just fundamentally, inherently, not ready. I am just not ready.
I am not ready for my little baby to be a toddler. I am not ready for my Tiny Person to be not-so-tiny. I am not ready for our first year of firsts and wonderment and smiles and delight and milky breath to be in the past.
I am not ready.
On the Saturday before her birth last year, I was getting terribly high blood pressure readings and was terrified that I was slowly killing my baby. I wasn't worried about myself: I figured I'd be fine but worried that she was being harmed.
On the Sunday before she was born we skipped church, had a lay in, and then went to visit with my birth circle friends and have belly photos taken. And that was the last picture taken of me before she was born. And it's beautiful. It is so beautiful.
Is it the last photo I will ever have taken of a pregnant belly of mine? Is Bubby our last baby?
I do not know. We have always had the attitude that we will have the number of children we need to have. So maybe we're finished. Or maybe not. I have no idea and I'm not going to try to predict. I do know that we're not even thinking about for some time yet. But I also know that I have a 20-25% chance of the complications I had with Bubby recurring. And that weighs on my mind...
Maybe my body needs me to be done.
And I hate it. I hate thinking that we might need to make such an emotional decision based on something as cold as probabilities.
But so it is. And so I approach Bubby's birthday with reticence, unable to fully embrace a new year for my baby because in opening my arms to embrace that new year I must let go - a little - of the past year. I need to make room for what is new and to come but what has been is so incredibly precious I feel it tear at this mother's heart of mine.
I watch her take her halting, zombie-steps across the living room, grinning widely with her gap-toothed grin at her audacious new joy, and I feel my chest expand with such pride, such immense and immeasurable ecstasy at what she is able to do. I positively glow, watching her, because who could not? Such bliss is undeniable.
And I scoop her up and hug her tight to me, bringing her little legs toward her chest, making her small and a little ball once again and I press kisses into the soft perfection of her round, pink cheeks while she giggles at me and I try - I try - to keep her small. I try to steal a few more moments, a few more glorious moments, of her baby-ness. Now. While I can.