On the Other Side of the Country
Sam's mom left this morning. She was here for ten days or so, helping with the house and smiling at the baby, paying for dinner, and giving our living room such a thorough vacuuming that I told her she was hired, full-time. She taught us how to paint a room, and we painted Henrietta's: three walls a sort of almond-y color (almonds without shells, mind you) and an accent wall in a color called Eros Pink. I think of the room like a berry-almond tart, now, and sometimes when I pass by I stop and look at it, soaking in how great it is in there. This is a change from how it was before: it was painted this very dark and depressing blue, and sometimes when I'd sit in there to feed the baby, I would stare at the walls and feel like crying, just from the color--it was that bad.
|Sneak peak of new nursery, with the almond-berry tart walls. More to come ...|
It was lovely to have her here. Henrietta thought she was fabulous, and would start laughing when she was even in her general vicinity. And when I woke up this morning and Sam was already gone to drop his mom off at the airport, I stayed in bed with the baby for a long while, feeling, I realized, depressed she was gone.
Sam and I become increasingly convinced that this living on the other side of the country thing, this being so far from family, is for the birds. And this was even more true tonight, when I brought Henrietta back to her room, after having slept in ours for the last while, and I realized she was a different baby, that she'd changed so much in the time my mother-in-law was here that it was like I was bringing a different kid into that room. She's livelier now. She's five months old, and shockingly close to crawling. I'm beginning to eye things in my house with suspicion, realizing how dangerous they'll be for a baby on the move. She has a range of sounds that gets bigger every day--big, wild sounds that are fascinating to listen to. She can jump in her jumper more efficiently, her little feet dancing beneath her. It's harder to change her diaper, since she's figured out she doesn't actually have to stay still for that part. She's always moving, always interesting in something, her enormous blue eyes wide and taking everything in. She's quicker to smile, and quicker to cry, and her personality seems more developed. I can tell now that if I thought she wore me out before, I had no idea how truly worn out I could be, or how in love. It's blowing my mind how fast this is going.
|I mean, look at this kid. She's charming, is what she is.|
Which is why it's extra disappointing that my family and Sam's family are so far away. We're lucky that we get to see them often enough, but even several times a year isn't often enough, when your baby is changing weekly. I want her to smile at both grandmas. I want my mom to read her books, and Sam's mom to say, when she screams just to hear herself scream, "She sounds like a teenager at a Beatles concert!" I want her to know her aunts and uncles, to run around with her cousins, to have sleepovers and eat my dad's exquisite pancakes. We have no immediate plans to move, but today I wish we did. I wish we could pack up our new house, leave behind the berry-almond walls, wrestle the cats into their carriers and the baby into her car seat, and head west.