It was a hot September afternoon. The knit panel of my maternity jeans lay wrinkled over my freshly deflated belly. I rode in the back seat, next to you for this first car trip and the thousands to follow. Postpartum hormones free-falling from their regularly scheduled nose dive, crashed through flood gates of every emotion that exists.
My pinky found tight comfort in your little fist as we winded our way through the canyon roads from Beverly Hills to the San Fernando Valley. These roads, we had taken thousands of times, suddenly seemed terrifyingly treacherous.
We pulled into our apartment complex and parked the car. I fumbled awkwardly around your tiny limbs for buttons to unlatch you. Even with your fuzzy infant insert, the seat swallowed you in your tininess.
Walking slowly up the driveway, Daddy’s hand under my elbow, we made our way to the stairway leading to apartment #6. The effects of three sleepless nights nestled behind my eyes creating a hazy fog. Climbing the stairs with care one would normally use for a walk across a tightrope, it took what felt like hours to arrive at our door, decorated by dear friends and neighbors with your name.
At the sight of this combination of letters, I burst into tears as I had every time I saw them written on anything throughout the past 48 hours.
We took more time than necessary to turn the key. Beyond that door lay an abyss. Completely uncharted territory. At the hospital, we were taken care of. We had training wheels. It was almost like playing a role in a show, a fantasy of sorts. But insanity of all insanities, they sent us home! Just us..with you.
Just the three of us.
The opening of this door would mark the true start of our lives as parents. Something we had ached for and went to hell and back to make happen, and yet now that you were curled in my arms, we had no idea what on earth to do next.
The door opened to an eery silence. The squeak of our sneakers on the hardwood cutting it with an echo. Shadows of fresh flowers on the kitchen table, clutching an “It’s a Boy” card danced across your pristine infant swing, the newest addition to our furniture set.
I looked around and back to you for my first parental cue. With a multitude of options for which to place you, bouncy seat, crib, bassinet, couch, I settled on the yards of black material we call the mobi, and wrapped you close. Curled into a fetal ball, you nestled in, protected as if none of this birth business ever happened. You and I both agreed that this was still the most comfortable scenario for both of us. Let’s just move into this slowly, shall we?
And there we were. Figuring it out. One ever-changing minute at a time.
That little apartment that we had outgrown even before you joined us, is etched in my mind as the most perfect place. A place where we lived vibrantly across the spectrum of the most balanced and blissful, and the most off-kilter and hair-pulling. It was made into all of that with your delightful spark. And even here, thousands of miles away, where extended family members are plentiful, it will always feel like a slice of home.