I didn't tell anyone what I was thankful for yesterday. Everyone at Nanny and Papa's probably shared their thankfulness before dinner started, or maybe they just said grace and dug in - I wouldn't know, because I was in a bedroom nursing my newest reason to be thankful. I have so many things to give thanks for. I have two sets of family now who love me, my husband, and my little girl. In-laws are the brunt of many mean jokes, but I think it's wonderful that I have two sets of in-laws and that Heidi has six grandparents. My family is sometimes reticent and usually soft-spoken (at least compared to my husband's family) (though just as loving as families who are louder about it), and I was overwhelmed at first to be welcomed into a family who show their love by teasing and their agreement by shouting over each other, but I'm becoming used to it. I love that my children will grow up seeing both ways of life, and will know that being quiet isn't necessarily boring and awkward (remember the in-laws in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?), and that being loud isn't necessarily rude and uncaring, but that there is much love to be shown in both ways. And even as I worry about QE2 and TSA gropedowns and China and Russia's new deal to bypass the dollar when trading with each other, I look into my daughter's eyes, cuddle with my husband, or call my mom on the phone, and I know that everything will be fine. The world might change, and the change might hurt, but we'll be fine.
Today, the world changed in a silly way that hurt a little, though I'm thankful for it too. Babies can't fit into their newborn clothes forever. I folded up the little sleepers and packed them into a box, and watched the first piece of my girl's babyhood slip away. There goes the yellow outfit with the farm animals that she wore in the hospital. The brown and pink outfit that I dressed her in every third day, because who doesn't love brown and pink together? Tan with hearts all over it - there was a diaper malfunction in that one, and I had to scrub it very hard. Bright pink with ladybug toes. Tiny yellow ducks. Wait, that purple one might be big enough for little while longer. She only wore one style of newborn clothes, the onesies with the long sleeves and the feet. Those little pajama feet stood on my lap and bounced at 7 in the morning, while I groggily tried to burp her and put her back to sleep, to convince myself and her that it wasn't really time to get up yet, or at least that she shouldn't be awake after having woken up so many times during the night. I always failed. For the past two weeks, 7 am has been her time to bounce. If I can force my eyes open, I see that her eyes are bright and her mouth is gaping in an almost-grin. Time to get up. Play the bouncy game, kick your feet in your little brown and pink polka dot sleeper. That sleeper now waits for the next baby girl, and I can't help feeling sad.
But how can I be sad? Heidi is growing and thriving. Nourished by nothing but my milk, she has outgrown the clothes that were so big on her in her first days. (Are any other nursing mothers completely in awe of this process? How on earth can this work? It's as strange to me as if I could plant a shrub on my head and have it grow. Speaking of which, remind me to post some real-camera pictures of Heidi's mandrake hat which she wore to the Harry Potter premiere.) Growth is part of life - I don't even want to think about the other possibility - and leaving some sweetness behind only brings more sweetness and accomplishments to rejoice in. And yet each new accomplishment means missing the time before. It's the most wonderful thing in the world that she can watch her Daddy walk across the room to her, but it means goodbye to the cross-eyed staring.
And it's only going to get more so. Thank God.