We were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, March 8th. The morning was pretty smooth; My OB came for a visit and I thanked her for everything. Our pediatrician popped by and told us our little girl looked great and that we should bring her for an appointment in a few days' time. Husband and I wrangled our tiny creature into her mint green "coming home" outfit and matching hat. Our babe? She screamed the whole time. As we exited our hospital room and waited for the elevator, she continued to wail. I felt my anxiety swell. Husband cracked a joke to the others in the elevator. It seems she's not ready to go home, he said.
In the lobby, the guard checked the numbers on my plastic bracelet against the numbers on our little girl's plastic bracelet and declared us free to go. We asked him to take a picture of us, of Mommy and Daddy and little baby going home. And he did. The picture came out a bit blurry. But that's okay. Because this time in our life? It's blurry. Beautifully blurry.
Husband jogged out to the street to hail a taxi while I waited inside with our little one. In moments, a yellow car halted and I went outside, lugging that car seat into the brisk March air. We asked the driver to wait as we strapped her in. He smiled a knowing smile. Of course, he said. And then he drove very slowly, far more slowly than most Manhattan cabbies. As we inched our way toward home, my eyes and mind danced from that little pink face, now slumbering, to the outside world, a world of trees and cars and buildings.
When the taxi driver pulled up in front of our home, I studied its sunlit facade and the rich brown of its stone. I took a moment to linger on the lines of the windows and the slope of the steps. A smile came.
Husband released the seat from the cab's backseat and swung our little creature to the sidewalk. I followed, thanking our driver. Again, he smiled, knowing perhaps that he played a small, but important role in our story. Husband picked up the seat and walked toward our front door. I followed, watching the silhouette of the man I love - broad shoulders, legs long and strong - and that little seat dangling from his arm.
Stop, I said. And he turned. Will you put the seat down in front of our place? I want a picture. I want to remember this. This coming home.
And he did. He placed it down. And there it was. A contraption of gray plastic. A puff of hot pink. A tiny girl inside sleeping her way through her third morning of life. I snapped away. The result? An ambiguous shot. A contrast of color. An uncertain image.
But I'm happy to have this, this small and shadowy reminder of that March morning, this relic of our return.
Now. Now we are home. Ensconced in the familiar. Cozy inside.
Now. Now we are home. Surrounded by our creations. Buffeted and buoyed by old love and new life, endless exhaustion and bouts of exasperation.
It's no utopia. But it's us. And I love it.
Being here. Being home.
Do you think home is rooted in place or people or both? Do you remember coming home for the first time after a big event (a death, a wedding, a birth, etc.)? Have there been times when you have been able to glimpse your home more objectively and appreciate it more profoundly?