A year ago, I walked down the aisle of a wonderful church clutching Toddler's hand. My best friend's wedding. Toddler was flower girl. And I was matron of honor. She was tiny. I was huge. That night, I stood up to give a speech. The speech was entitled Babies and Brides; the Silly and the Serious. Because I am formal-ish and title even wedding speeches. And also because my best friend and I met when we were tiny babies. I was a week or so old and she was negative three weeks old. Yes, she was still snug in her mom's belly when our mothers first met on the tree-lined street on the Upper West where we both had the good fortune of spending our shared first years.
While I read my wedding speech, Baby swam inside me, two weeks shy of making her debut, turning slow somersaults. I closed my speech with the following words to my dear friend who now celebrates her first anniversary:
"Tonight is a magical night. Its your night. Tonight, we gather in your childhood backyard, being silly and spontaneous while celebrating something wonderfully and pricelessly serious, breathing in October air damp with possibility and purpose and promise. Tonight theres no denying it: were not little girls anymore. Were brides. Women. Mothers. Present and future.
But may we always be babies. Cradled in the arms of our parents, living and gone. Swaddled in reality, but also cushioned by that beautiful oblivion of our very first days, our lives, good lives full of lasting love and childish laughter, stretching endlessly before us."
When I finished my speech, I wiped away tears, hugged the bride, and found my seat again. I sat there, my hand shaking from nerves and nostalgia and anticipation, resting on the bulging precipice of new life. After that speech, several wedding guests came over to me and told me they loved my speech. A few people said something like, "You sure can write." This made me smile. At that point, my novel had not yet sold. It would a couple months later.
Here we are a year later.
Today, Baby is no longer cozy inside me, but cozy outside me. Cozy in our family. In our home. In our world. And she is no longer swimming and turning those somersaults. Today, she is taking Baby steps. She's officially on the move. We have ourselves another walker.
Tonight, I will not stand and speak. I will sit across from Husband at a tiny table at a restaurant downtown. We will hold hands and sip good wine and savor decadent food. We will smile. We will laugh. We will celebrate. All that has happened in the past year. And all that is to come.