Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Year Old Today

When Genevieve was born, the college where Christopher works gave us the children's book "Baby Born", about an infant's first year, as part of a thoughtful welcome-baby gift. It immediately became a family favorite. Julia memorized it; at Thanksgiving, we sat at the table with Genevieve and recited together, "Baby says, mum-mum-mum, when she sees the turkey come!" We still read it several times a week. It will always be a reminder of when Genevieve was born; it will always bring to mind that odd in-between period of summer: the height of August heat, that within weeks--before I was even off the C-section pain medication, before the gifts had stopped arriving in the mail every day--turned to a yellow, sunshiney wind that blew leaves through the air and rushed rain-clouds in from over the neighboring fields. Genevieve arrived in summer, but she was a fall newborn. My favorite season.

Here it is the height of August heat again, all four seasons moving through the life of this family just like the pages of that colorful baby board book. And I could talk to you about sweet Vivi--how she is an angel to our family, how we all adore her beyond measure, how no baby has ever been so amiable, so cuddly and sweet, how she kisses everyone all the time, with an emphatic "mmm-muh!" kissy sound and a laughing, crinkly-grinned shake of her head, like a blissful puppy with a chew toy, how she especially kisses Julia, over and over and over, and how Julia lets her, and laughs, and hugs her and says, "Vivi, you're so cute!" which just goes to show: Vivi is the most adorable baby in the universe, isn't she?--but it would never truly explain what she's really like, how if you met her you'd fall in love and want to take her home.

And I could tell you that now she's on the verge of walking, and that she has the most gorgeous soft blond hair that waves in the breeze at the top of her head, and that her mouth is full of tiny chiclet teeth and her eyes are still dark blue. And that she's got the greatest smile--mischievous and jolly--and a giggle she shows off when we read "Ten Minutes Till Bedtime" and do the baby hamster's comments in a squeaky baby voice. And how she's a little climbing monkey, hoisting herself onto Julia's bed, standing at the footboard where she can look down at us, chuckling and squealing. And how her general attitude toward life is one of good-natured adventurousness.

If you heard all those details, would you finally know, would you truly understand, how happy we are to have her, how we'd never survive without her, how she's the perfect baby sister, how she makes our family complete? Would you understand that she makes the passing of a precious babyhood year a little hard to take? Would you know that when you have a babykins this luscious, you're a little bit tempted to keep making more, even when you know you've really had enough? Maybe. Maybe you would.

Happy Birthday, Genevieve Rose! A year old today!

"Baby love
a year old today
up with the sun
ready to play."

--"Baby Born"
by Anastasia Suen
illustrated by Chih-Wei Chang


Donna said...

Happy Birthday, Genna Rose!

Christopher Tassava said...

Great. Now I'm sniffling away tears at my desk. (Put a link to the book in your post, man!)

Shan said...

There weren't any good links. Seriously. Maybe I'll put in the Amazon one, but that was the best I could find.

Shan said...

OK, I lied. I found a good link. And put it in. Put one in for "Ten Minutes till Bedtime" too, because that's another gem, in an altogether different way.

Elise said...

Happy Happy Birthday! And Many Happy Returns!