I went into labor at 4 am on February 22, 2002. Right on the due date--2/22/2002. Auspicious, huh? Despite the fact that I was a first-timer, I was fairly calm. The pains weren't awful yet, so I knew it'd take a while. I tried to rest, got up, took a shower, and got everything ready. We headed to the hospital at 8 am.
The lovely doctors and nurses turned us right around and sent us home again. "Not even close" to delivery. It'd be at least 8 hours, probably. I was to relax and rest and pay attention to changes, and I would KNOW when it was time to go in.
It was 15 hours before we went back. For that whole day I labored, rocked in my mother-in-law's handmade rocking chair, thought about how different life would be tomorrow, and watched the Winter Olympics on TV.
She didn't come until noon the next day, the 23rd.
The next time the Olympics were on, she was 4. We watched, but life with a 4-year-old is crazy, especially around birthday time. I was planning a party, buying presents. Still I thought of that day with the Olympics, and my now-big girl.
She's turning 8 next week, and she's a smart, funny, active girl, interested in dance and acting and school. I love spending time with her. The other night we all curled up on the sofa together, watched figure skating and rooted for our favorites. She was big-eyed with awe watching the skaters, the snowboarders, the skiiers. I told her the story of our first day together with the Olympics, and we counted how old she would be for the next ones.
12. 16. 20. 24.
It goes so fast it's hard to stop and take stock, to realize how beautifully and remarkably things--children--change. But we're lucky. We have a marker that makes us stop, notice the time.
She's my Olympics girl, my very own winter miracle. This time of year I'm even more grateful for her.