There are a few days in my life that I will always, always remember. Days so monumental that the memories are crisp and vibrant in a way that makes remembering them more like reliving them.
September 22nd, 2009 is one of those days for me. 2009 had been a really uncomfortably hot summer, but by then the heat had mellowed into a warm, golden autumn - my favourite time of year. Still far from sweater weather, but sun that actually felt good on my back as I spent the morning working on my first (and only) quilt in my studio. I knew we were close to getting our proposal, and all day I wondered about things...has a baby already been born who will be our son or daughter? When will we find out? What do we still have to do to get ready? What will I feel like when I see the picture? What will I feel like if it's a boy? What will I feel like if it's a girl? How old will they be? When will we travel? Will we be home for Christmas? What will it be like to have a baby? What if it all goes wrong and it never happens? What if it all goes right and our proposal comes soon? My brain was swirling with so many thoughts, but I knew we probably had another month to wait before our proposal was due. In the afternoon after I went out to the garden to pick an armful of zucchini, I went upstairs to take some photographs of the nursery as the painting was finally finished and the closet shelves were all put together. It was starting to really look like somewhere a baby would live. At 5 I sat down to do a little photoshop on those pictures before I got in the kitchen to cook us supper, which was going to be a zucchini fritatta. At 5:07 I saw the little envelope pop up that told me I had mail. I was expecting it to be from David, telling me he was either about to leave work or was going to be late. I minimized photoshop and when I opened up my email, there IT WAS. An email from our agency with the subject line "A Proposal For You". I'm not sure if it's true, but it felt like my heart stopped for just a second and then it started beating so loudly that I could HEAR it. When our friends had gotten their email it had said "Congratulations, it's a BOY" so I was expecting the gender to be announced in the subject line, but ours was more cryptic, giving me no information at all, but telling me that we had been matched with a little person. I WANTED TO OPEN THAT EMAIL. I NEEDED DAVID HOME! I knew I had to call him at work, but it took me several minutes of looking at the phone followed by several tries as I had both completely forgotten how to use the telephone and was lacking the hand eye coordination to even take a guess. Luckily once I got the phone to work, David answered, as I don't know if I could have formed a cohesive sentence to his receptionist. From my hello, David knew something was happening. Maybe he could hear my heart beating over the phone? All I said after hello was "It's here. The email. Come home now". He asked what the subject line said and I told him, and he made me promise to wait for him so we could open it together and see the picture and find out if we had a son or a daughter. I made him get off the phone IMMEDIATELY and get in his car. Our plan was to set up the video camera and capture us as we found out. Our plan was that I wouldn't look at the email when it came. I REALLLLLLLLLLY wanted to open the email. But I didn't. It only takes David about 20 minutes to get home from work, but it was one of the longest 20 minutes I've ever endured. I was jumpy. Frantically cleaning up. Hoping I wasn't having a heart attack. Smiling so so so big. Getting teary. Looking at the subject line of the email again and again, hoping for a clue to magically appear. Finally, David made it home and after some hugging and kissing it was time.
We turned on the video camera.
Took our places.
I think I had also lost the ability to read, as before I could even focus my eyes, David is yelling "It's a girl! A GIRL!!!" and shaking me and grinning. I'm still trying to make sense of the email, but it's gotten even harder as now I'm crying hard. Finally I calm down enough to read the few lines of text that change our life forever. A girl. Bac Ninh province. Born not even two months ago. We're completely and totally giddy.
Then a panic as we realize there's no picture attached. I NEED A PICTURE. Yes, finding out I had a daughter was amazing, but I wouldn't be satisfied until I had a picture. We knew that sending our proposal was likely the last item of business for the day and we would have to wait for tomorrow and that was making me cry all over again, this time less-than-happy tears. But then we noticed that a huge file was downloading... and there she was. A typically smooshy, sleeping newborn in a grainy, blurry, tiny photo. A shock of black hair. The prettiest mouth I've ever seen. A cute little nose. A double chin that melts my heart. My daughter. Perfect. It felt like I recognized her. She just looked RIGHT. It all felt right. It felt like the whole world had shifted over and we were suddenly standing in a new place and I knew it was going to be great.
And it is.