Today is my daughter’s second birthday. A milestone by any account, but especially so for a few reasons.
I never thought I’d have kids.
I made it through the day relatively intact.
My father flew in from California for the occasion.
In other words, I am celebrating the life of a human being who I am often surprised even exists. I’m very happy she’s here, but also a bit stunned. I met my husband, fell in love, and he convinced me that kids are easy. He was already a father and loves it. He’s dedicated, attentive, involved, and present. His experience with parenting, thus far, had been a breeze. In short, he is a good dad, and made it look easy. My daughter is everything I was ever afraid of in the great stereotype of “kids”. She is stubborn, strong willed, spirited, adores the words “no” and “mine”. Hates all veggies and is highly suspicious of meats. Is now going through a hitting phase. Cried constantly from the age of three weeks to five months. Still doesn’t sleep through the night and has become fond of suddenly going limp in my arms when I try to pick her up. Awesome. Love it. More please.
Secondly, I have been slowly resurfacing after a major depression. I have been interviewed, observed, medicated, counselled, poked, prodded, diagnosed,rediagnosed, and undiagnosed. Some days are good, some are really effing bad. Holidays and special occasions, like birthdays, are usually overwhelming and trigger some pretty uncelebratory feelings and behaviours. But today, I stayed afloat. I wanted it to go well because I will never have this chance again…to be with my daughter on her second birthday…but I knew that anything could happen. I was tired, and at points I was irritable, moody, and short-tempered, but no meltdowns, and no fights. I call that a success. I managed well enough that I don’t have any regrets about today. A triumph.
Lastly, my dad lives in California. We’re in Montreal. It’s a heck of a trip, but more than that, my dad hasn’t always been an “involved” parent. I know his heart is good, but I also still lick the wounds from the missed birthdays and forgotten Christmases of my childhood. It shocked and delighted me that he made it.
So, today marks my incredible daughter’s two full years earthside; a small but significant step forward out of the mud of depression; and a glimpse of my dad-as-grampie enjoying the simple pleasures of family.
And so it goes…