Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Aurora: You're six months old

Dear Aurora,

You're six months old. What an amazing six months it's been.  
When you were first born, EVERYONE said "enjoy every moment - it goes by so fast." Back in those early days of uncertainty, (what seemed like) constant crying, and not knowing how we were going to get through, I would do an internal eye-roll every time someone said this. I would think "I wish she was older, I wish she was stronger, I can't wait for this newborn stage to be over.

Now, only six months later, I can see exactly what those wise people were talking about. I find myself longing for those newborn snuggles, the weight of you asleep on my chest, even for the feeling of you nestled into me while I nursed you. I can't believe you've already been here for a half a year. It's truly gone by in the blink of an eye. Rory, I'm now really trying to take that advice - I'm trying to enjoy not only every minute, but every second with you.  

Over the past couple of months, your dad and I have marveled at how your personality is developing. You're happiest in the morning or after your naps when you spot us walking into your room. Your smile is so contagious that sometimes your dad, Grandpa, Nona and Papa and I all scramble to be the ones to go in and get you when you first wake up.  

You are the most easygoing baby. You barely ever cry, you go down for your naps and for bedtime like a dream, you sleep about 12 hours every night (insert wood knock here). Our friends Darcy and Trish (and your buddy baby Ari) babysat you one night while your dad and I were at a wedding, and they asked us if you are always this easy. We had to admit (ok, brag) that yes, you are. You are already making us so proud, my girl.

Over the summer, you continued your adventures traveling with Mom and Dad. We went to Ottawa to visit Auntie Dom and Uncle Dave. Last month, we traveled to Hanover, and then Toronto. You met all of your Grandma Brenda's family and they just fell in love with you. Seeing the smile on your Great Grandma Weber's face as she kissed your cheeks over and over again and cuddled you was so special. You were the star of the show and once again, and again, you made us so proud by being your easygoing self. We even took a ferry on our adventure - the roughest ferry ride any of us had even taken. You were a gem the whole time - entertaining all of the green passengers with your smiles, laughing, and cooing.

This month, we said goodbye to Auntie Gigi as she left for her new adventure in London, England. I promise you that even though your Auntie is far away, we will do everything we can to make sure that you don't feel the distance between you. Auntie Gigi jokes that when you grow up, you will be a world traveler just like her. I cringe jokingly, but in reality, I want you to see all of the wonders that make up this world.  


Little Rory girl, the past six months have been such a crazy adventure with you. Some parts of my life are the same, yet things feel completely different now that you're here. I used to sleep like a rock at night - and now I find myself lying awake (even when you're sleeping) and thinking, worrying, contemplating everything under the sun. I think about whether you're too hot or too cold, whether your tummy is bothering you, how fast you're growing, whether I'm going to have to buy you new clothes soon, what the next 20 years will hold, what tomorrow will hold. 

I used to care more what people thought - now, as long as you're happy and healthy, I really don't care in the least. The other day, I was in the grocery store, trying to hurry, when I accidentally banged the shopping cart going around a corner. A lady nearby looked, and very loudly 'tsk'ed in our direction. I looked down at you and you were smiling. The lady's dirty look and judgement  evaporated, just like that, as soon as I saw your smile. The little dramas don't matter anymore. It's hard to be anything but grateful when I look my happy, healthy little Rory. 


Sometimes, before bed, we read a book called "I'd know you anywhere, my love." A story about how a mama will always know her baby better than anyone else. Sometimes, I feel like you have given me a superpower. I now know your facial expressions, I know when you're about to make strange, when you're about to cry, when you're about to vomit all over yourself, and me, and anything within a five foot radius. When you're down for your nap and you wake up, I seem to somehow know when you're going to go back to sleep and when you're up for good. The connection we share is sometimes unbelievable to me. I can't explain it, except to say that I am your mama and you are my baby. It is the sort of magic that all of the storybooks talk about but that you don't really believe until it happens to you. 

Aurora, you've given me an amazing gift. You made me your mama. You had faith, in those early weeks, that I could do it. Every day, our bond grows stronger and stronger and I love you more and more (how is that even possible?).

You've given me confidence, you've given me strength, you've given me the chance to raise you, teach you, and guide you.

You've made me feel like the luckiest mama on earth. 

Thank you, my little love, for this awesome gift. Happy half-birthday.  


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bon voyage

Growing up, my sister Gillian (now affectionately known as Gigi to her friends and family) was always the tougher, more stubborn, straighter shooting sibling. This is the kid who would fall down, scrape her knee, and proceed to beat on the sidewalk and call it names. The kid who once looked across a room full of people at my parents Christmas party, pointed at one of their house guests, and proclaimed "I don't like dat man." Her wild curls and mischievous smile only added to her carefree personality. I, on the other hand, was the gentler, worried, older sister (my family nicknamed me Memere at a very young age).  

Despite our differences, Gigi and I were always, and still are, the best of friends. No one makes me laugh like my sister, and when we're together, it's like we speak our own language. Once, at a party, someone made a comment that we just sat in the corner the whole time, laughing at our own jokes. We compared ourselves to the two old men from the Muppets and laughed even harder. 

Over the past few years, our lives have taken different paths. I veered off on the traditional path - got married, bought a house, got a yellow lab and had a baby. Gigi followed a more unconventional path - living in Toronto, establishing a wonderful group of friends, working hard, zooming around the city on her bicycle, and being the go-to girl for the trendiest restaurants and shopping spots. Our lives were pretty different, but we always found time (usually a good hour a couple of times a week) to catch each other up on what was going on.  

Last winter, just after Christmas, Gigi announced that she was moving to London, England. This was followed by many questions from my dad and I, the most prominent one being WHY? Why do you want to move there? What are you going to do there? It's SO far away! When will we ever see you? Are you really going to go? Deep down, we knew the answers to all of these questions. Gigi was going because she wanted adventure. She wanted to explore the world. She was determined to get a job, and that way she could travel Europe and come home as often as she wanted.

Deep down, although we hoped (for selfish reasons) that she would change her mind, my dad and I both knew that our determined, stubborn, little Gigi was going to England. Deep down, we also both understood why, and we knew we had to be supportive about her move. If you know Gigi, you know that trying to convince her not to do something will only piss her right off - and make her want to do it even more. But goddamn it - we're going to miss her. See, our little clan is pretty tight - we do best together. 

And so tonight, Gigi will board a plane that will take her to her new adventure across the Atlantic. She's done her homework. Her work visa is intact. She has a great job waiting for her. She's already established a few contacts in London. I'm not worried about her in the least. Frankly I'm more worried about me, how I'll survive knowing a piece of my heart is so far away. But I'll be ok.We'll have FaceTime and Skype and I'll be waiting anxiously to hear about all of her adventures across the pond. I'm so excited for her.

Now, there are no more questions, no more words, except a few important ones.

Good luck.
We love you.  
We'll miss you.  
We'll see you soon.  

Go get 'em, Gigi.