Interrupting all these reflective posts on family culture for a regular old life update post, as May was a big month for our family. I tend to be leery about ushering in new seasons before we are fully into them. That results in premature excitement on warm days in February and cool days in September, only to be demoralized when it snows in March and scorches in October – which is always does in DC. But I have been crushing on summer hard since the first warm day in May. We survived winter, and I am really proud of our resilience in getting out every day in frigid weather followed by endless spring rain. But I am ready to thrive, the type of thriving that summer days bring. I know it gets so hot and humid, but I live for those long days, endless park and splash pad visits, and adventures around this swamp of a city. We started seeing those days this month, and had our inaugural splash pad visit with friends right before Memorial Day. Summer- we are so, so, so ready for you.
Of course, my love of hotter days was tempered a little by being a thousand months pregnant. I surpassed my final weight with Henry at around 36 weeks with baby 2 and every day in May brought more physical discomfort and less sleep. People who tell pregnant women to “sleep now before the baby comes!” have obviously never been in the final sleepless throes of pregnancy and deserve every punch to the face that said hormonal and exhausted women restrain. But in spite of daily misery, there were lots of little joys in this last month. James and I made sure to sneak in some dates, I indulged in lots of pampering (haircut! pedicure! optimistically purchasing some new clothes that will most likely still not fit almost of the summer!) and a hearty dose of nesting (cleaned out the fridge! vacuumed out the car! washed my curtains! hired someone to deep clean my house for the first time ever!).
In the midst of it all, I graduated from my doctoral program. This past year has been so big both professionally, with finishing and defending my dissertation, and personally, with this endless and frequently miserable pregnancy, that I feel neither realm has gotten to have all the attention it deserved. Graduation seemed an afterthought. But then it finally rolled around, and I donned a robe that made me look like a sinister Catholic Cardinal from a Renaissance period drama, as well as a hat that made me look like Thomas Cromwell from Wolf Hall (yes, a strange and contradictory blend of religious regalia, I know), it did feel as monuments as it is. Walking across that stage and hearing Henry yell “YAY MOMMY!” out in the crowd made me so proud that graduate school has been a part of our family’s story the past 7 years.
And then May ended in the very best of all possible ways. We celebrated Henry’s birthday the Saturday before Memorial Day, in a morning spent eating donuts in the park with our friends before spending the rest of the day in some cleaning and baby prep interspersed with reflections and memories from Henry’s first two years. We went to bed tired and happy, even if physically I felt even more miserable than usual. But the night was short, as I was up with strange pain by 2:30 am and we headed to the hospital not too long after. By a little after 10, 2 weeks and 2 days early and almost sharing a birthday with her brother, she was here. Marietta Elizabeth. A first name from my grandmother and a middle name shared by her grandmother and aunt. May she grow into this amazing heritage. Our Etta, coming into this world so calmly and sweetly that I am forgiving the 37 weeks and 5 days of pain, fear, and difficulty that preceded her. Etta, the perfect end to May and perfect beginning to a new stage of life for our family.
PS: Sharing these pictures also made me very aware that Henry apparently wears that red striped shirt a lot. That capsule toddler wardrobe people- repeat alllllll the clothes till the fall apart.