How good and sweet the New Year is.
Today we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Tomorrow we celebrate Katie's seventh birthday.
Seven years since M labored to bring our daughter into the world.
Seven years since I heard her first cry.
Seven years since I first looked into her eyes.
It will be an ordinary day in some ways. We will argue about why she needs to wear her eye patch. We will negotiate how long she must practice piano. She will eat her breakfast, comb her hair and brush her teeth, all under my watchful eye. We will inevitably be a few minutes on the late side when we leave for school, and I'll be nagging her to come on and hurry up.
It will be an extraordinary day in other ways. My parents are in town, visiting us from Florida. Katie will wake up with Yaya and Papa in the house, singing Happy Birthday to her. She will wear a special new outfit to school, and there just might be a present or two to open early in the morning. There will be phone calls and cards and emails just for her.
Seven years since I first held her.
Seven years since I called my mother to tell her that M's baby was a girl, that I now had a daughter of my own.
Seven years since Andrew and I first gave her a bath, wiping away the birth fluids and patting her dry.
As we walk to school, we will discuss the Shabbat birthday dinner that we will be having tomorrow night, a special occasion that will include both sets of her grandparents. In the schoolyard, I will tell the other kids that it is Katie's birthday, because I want to make sure plenty of people keep fussing over her after I must walk away.
We sang and danced with the Torah today during services, and we ate apples and honey cake for a sweet new year. At dinner tonight, she carefully served the asparagus, and when we praised her for being helpful, she shrugged, smiled and said, "Well, I am almost seven years old."
Seven years since I learned what it was like to watch a healthy baby begin her life.
Seven years since I began my hardest job and took on my greatest responsibility.
Seven years since I became Katie's mommy.
Happy Birthday, dear Katie, to you. Happy Birthday to our family. Thank you, M, for choosing us and for making us parents. I know this is a hard day for you, and we will be thinking of you as we celebrate the gift of life that you gave us.