Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Amari

Last Tuesday I realized it was Carrie's Labor-versary, that first contraction that we assumed meant our daughter's arrival was just around the corner. Two and a half days later, after a few light hours of sleep I wrote these words:

Thursday, 3:40 PM - I have neither the energy nor the words to describe the last twenty-four hours. Our daughter, Amari Becker Fishman, arrived in our living room at 4:21 this morning. She is 6 pounds 8 ounces, she is beautiful, and she is all ours. I'm sure every man who witnesses his wife go through labor and childbirth believes that she is the strongest, most persistent, and courageous person on the planet. Tomorrow I will try to describe Amari's birthday and the hours that led up to it, but suffice it to say that Carrie is now, and forever will be, my hero.Welcome to our world, Amari. I love you.

Amari has been with us for a year now, and although I can't remember what my life was like without her, I'm pretty sure it involved more sleep. What it didn't involve - and what I've always been missing - was a sense of purpose and an indescribable depth of emotion. In the past twelve months Carrie and I have co-piloted the adventure of first-time parenting. I remember the first moment I held Amari:

I walked away from the light of the living room to ease the transition from womb to world. In my head I kept thinking, "Holy shit. Holy shit," an expression I notice pops into my head or out of my mouth during completely unpredictable, unfathomable moments - like when Carrie and I were hit head-on driving over Highway 20, or when George W. actually managed to swindle his way into office. This was a wonderful "Holy Shit," but a holy shit nonetheless.

I still have those holy shit moments all the time, but much like our piles of baby books have given way to instinct, fear has given way to wonder. Parenting continues to be the coolest thing ever. 

A holy shit moment came three days before her birthday while she was doing some assisted walking/chasing of the Calvert boy. After a few steps, Amari let go of one of my hands, then a few steps later pushed the other one away and chased him on her own. She made it about five feet flopped down, raised her hands for help, rinsed and repeated. She did this for the next five minutes or so. Later that day, when I came inside from a workout, Siobhan yelled, "Check this out Uncle Isaac," and I walked in to see my previously walking-inhibited daughter stagger the length of the hallway all smiles and giggles. It was especially cute, because she was walking with her hands twisting in the air as though she were doing that Indian twist in the light bulb dance. Very cultural. 

Another holy shit moment came when I spread out about ten memory cards and asked Amari to identify the ball, then the sun, then a dog. She may not be able to say much yet, but she's starting to know some shit. She now says, "Mo" (more) with regularity, "Mmm-bah," for bottle, and "Bah" for pretty much everything else. Fortunately for both of us she has a very seasoned pointer finger and a strong love of a few select foods. Actually, I'm sometimes surprised by how diverse her palate is, but on an average morning, cottage cheese, puffed cereal, and a dried apple/teething ring will suffice. 

Amari continues to use "Hellah," correctly, greeting anything and everything that she hasn't seen in a while, including the cats, Grannie C, and the downstairs living room first thing in the morning. Sometimes she'll wave at the same time, but she generally reserves that gesture for good-bye's. 

Saturday we celebrated Amari's first birthday with the Golds and the Calverts. There were a couple of balloons, a few decorations, and twp homemade cakes made by Siobhan and yours truly. Amari, decked out in yellow-striped tights, was the perfect hostess. She entertained her guests with walking, talking, music, dancing, and some cooperative play/toddler death match. By the end of the afternoon, both Amari and her devoted parents were thoroughly exhausted. 

The next day - today - felt melancholy. Carrie and I both had the Sunday blues and it was compounded by the realization that Amari is no longer a baby. People used to tell me all the time (they still do) to enjoy the early months because it goes by so fast. "Maybe for you," I thought, "but you're really old." Truth is, I'm pretty old, and time goes by more quickly all the time. I've definitely enjoyed every step along the way, stayed present and appreciated even the most challenging days, but time - just like it always does - keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping...

Happy Birthday, Amari. May the next year be as full of love and new adventures as the last one. 

Cake #1: The Cat

Cake #2: The Other Cake

The Artists

The Birthday Girl

The Band

The End

1 comment:

  1. That is so cute!! It is amazing it has been a year already.