Pickle is a whole one today.
On the day of her birth the ground was thick with snow, the roads were impassable and Trulove, my mum and Ziggler had to trudge through the park to come and meet the new arrival. (Trulove had already met her a bit more, erm, intimately but he was escorting the others through the blizzard). A year later, and the day is picketed and placarded for the biggest strike in – ooh, ages. So she chose a significant day to be born, did Pickle. I’m sure she’s destined for great things, being a genius, but whatever happens I hope she spends her life happy and contented and knowing how much she’s loved.
I’ve just opened a bottle of bubbly and I’m sitting here, alone, getting slowly pissed and celebrating my amazing daughter and my achievement of the last year. I am proud of myself. Getting through a year feels pretty significant. It has been the longest year and the shortest, the worst and the best and the most changeable and the hardest and the least fun and the most, and I’ve experienced more emotions than I even knew I was capable of – and I’m pretty moody at the best of times.
Earlier, I was remembering when Pickle was a few days old and I was glued to the sofa, breastfeeding, and one of the many people who were in and out of my house at that time had left the front door open. Attached to the sofa with the baby attached to me, I saw Ziggler, not even two yet, mosey out of the door and down the path towards the road. If I try, I can still feel the pounding panic and hear the baby scream as I wrenched her off my boob and dashed to the door. It was all right. Somebody got a hormonal lambasting. But I remember the feeling that I would never be able to protect two babies and wondering how the hell I was even going to try.
I’m sure that feeling will never go away really, but today I found myself averting a public toddler tantrum while carrying a one-year-old and a bag of shopping. And I was pretty pleased with myself. I’ve come a long way and I’ve learned loads of stuff, even if it’s nothing I’d actually put on my CV (and if, in the future, I ever find myself recruiting for a customer service role with incredibly demanding customers, having had a toddler will be a BIG advantage).
This next bit is going to sound very soppy and a bit pissed (accurately). just before Ziggler was born my oldest friend Melody, who’d had a baby six months before, told me about the miraculous stretchiness of love. you think you could never love someone as much as you love your partner, and then the baby comes and not only do you love him or her, but you love your partner even more than you did before. I’m not, honestly, the type of mother who loved her children the second they were born. But I know what she meant and, with the second, I felt the love expand and grow and encapsulate my family – the one I created – and finally understood why people talk about Love as an abstract. It swaddles and it cushions and it grows like a living thing.
I really am on a drunken ramble now so I’m signing off. But here’s to Pickle! Happy birthday! And many, many more.