Mornings like these are painful. They are painful because I'm happy to leave. That happiness creates guilt. And who wants a side of guilt with breakfast?
Tonight was a different story. Ingrid was joy on the drive home; saying her goodbyes to everyone at daycare and pointing out the moon. She helped cook dinner (aka, ate a healthy amount of shredded cheese). After a failed attempt to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, we flipped over to Despicable Me (pretty enjoyable).
As I was putting on her jammies, Ingrid quickly kicked her legs in unison, twice.
This made me pause because while pregnant, Ingrid would do this frequently - to my ribs - and it drove me nuts. It would happen when driving or sleeping. A little kick-kick. A little reminder that - yes, you're pregnant.
At the end of the day (or maybe, in hindsight) I enjoyed being pregnant. My labor on the other hand, was long and dramatic. One aspect of my labor that I still look back on with sadness is that I didn't get to experience the joy of seeing Ingrid right away. I saw her for the first time when I woke up from surgery. I was in pain and yelling things that no infant should hear. Across the small, sterile room, I saw a grinning Dan, holding a little bundle saying "It's a girl! It's a girl!" Wide-eyed little Ingrid was observing the entire scene. I was in awe over this little person and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the moment.
Later as Dan changed her miniature diaper, she gave her legs a little kick-kick and that's when I fell in love. A powerful, intimate love that's so much realer than I could have ever imagined.
I loved her when I saw her, but with those little kick-kick legs, I knew little baby Ingrid as my own.
There were so many wonderful moments during that first week with Ingrid. The nerve-wracking ride home from the hospital. The first night at home felt foreign compared to the hospital. Quite moments napping in the recliner. But whenever she broke free of her blanket and wiggled out of the swaddle - those little kick-kick legs brought a smile to my tired face. Those kicks reminded me that even though I didn't know anything about newborns, I knew her - and that would always be enough.