The weekend was a blur. I spent Saturday at the first Minnesota Blogger Conference, which was a tremendous success thanks to the countless hours that went into planning and executing the event. (A huge thanks to Missy Berggren of The Marketing Mama and Arik Hansen of Communications Conversations for all their work.)
And yesterday, we had two birthday parties for Stella—a kid and a family party. She was buzzing around all day, unwrapping presents, giggling with her friends, unwrapping more presents, eating cake. (And of course talking to Nibbles, who has recovered nicely from The Incident. Thanks for all your well wishes.)
This morning, my alarm went off at 6:15. I quickly turned it off so I wouldn’t wake Zoë, who was in our bed because she wet her crib in the middle of the night (which happens at least four times a week because she refuses to wear diapers at night. “I’m not a baby!” she says adamantly when I try to convince her of the merits of diapers at night.)
I snuck out of the room and I slipped into Stella’s room, where she was sprawled across her bed, sound asleep. I sat down on the edge of her bed, and just stared at her, marveling at the fact that she’s seven, a first grader. I brushed the hair from her face and whispered, “Happy birthday, sweetie.”
Her eyes opened a little. “I’m so tired,” she said, stretching her arm.
“I know, honey.” I was tired, too, and I wanted nothing more than to climb into her bed and fall back asleep with my birthday girl. I kissed her temple and wrapped her into my arms.
And as happens every year on Stella’s birthday, I’m pulled back in time, to the day she was born. I go back to the magnesium sulfate, the vomiting, the suffocating heat in my veins. I go back to my supersonic hearing, the twisted sheets, the tests, the tests. I go back to the fear, the not-knowing, the eventual C-section. I go back to my three-pound daughter being whisked away as soon as she’s pulled from me.
The events of my preeclampsia and Stella’s birth follow me around all day in such clear detail that it feels as if I could step back in time, as if I could leap into a parallel universe in which all of those events are still happening.
But then Stella reaches her arms around my neck and says, “I love you, Mama.” And I’m back where I belong, with my seven-year-old clinging to sleep in the early morning on her birthday.
I love you, too, Stella. Happy Birthday, big girl!