Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Fifty-Two Saturdays

I had my baby on a Saturday. 9:33 in the a.m. Pacific Standard Time, in fact. After a long and wearying night, and all the craziness and exhaustion and mean nurses and wishing I were somewhere else, it was a bright, beautiful sunny early summer weekend morning when we went from two to three.

Every Saturday since I have counted off the weeks since that day. Fifty-two Saturdays in all. I can remember cleaning out the fridge when she was one week old and thinking how strange it was that I had food in here older than the baby sleeping in the living room. I can remember when she turned ten weeks old and how much bigger and older she seemed to me, how different from when she was born. I counted off the weeks she’d been outside me and compared them to the same number of weeks from when she was in. At twenty weeks of pregnancy I was “halfway there” and barely starting to show; my twenty-week-old baby rolled over and over and tried to scoot around and made sounds that started to sound close to words. Forty-two weeks marked the point when she’d spent more time outside than in. I counted all those weeks, and the numbers seemed so big but the time seemed so short. Suddenly we were sailing through forty-eight and forty-nine and she was walking all by herself; fifty and fifty-one rushed up and I wished for a few more. I wished I could say “Wait! Stop! Slow down!” and have a little more time before her first year was over and I had nothing left of it but words on a page and pictures on my computer.

The 52nd Saturday was not her official birthday, of course. That fell on Monday. But I quietly marked the day to myself, an anniversary of sorts. I wondered if I would receive a t-shirt of the “I survived” variety now. Of course, that is a silly thing to think, because this mother thing is never past-tense. It is ongoing, ceaseless, constant. So for all my counting weeks of pregnancy and days past my due date and weeks and months of her life, there are always more to count. I will probably be calculating her age in weeks as we drop her off at her freshman college dorm. These fifty-two precious Saturdays will seem like an impossibly small amount of time. She will have had so many Saturdays, I will be unable to believe I ever counted them at all.

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