Summer relented while we were in hospital. Friday was hot and sticky, the water like blue glass when we went down there for lunch after a doctor’s appointment that indicated a few more days of waiting for baby. The baby had other plans, of course, and standing smiling in front of the clear blue fjord, for an ‘almost 41 weeks’ photo, we didn’t know we’d be holding her the following evening. But first there was a burger to eat, some more of the hot sun to catch and the idea of ‘she is a few days off yet’ to relax impatiently into. I am learning quickly never to relax into anything where babies are concerned, particularly not impatiently – they’ll just change it up on you anyway.
A few days after the burger by the flat, blue water, we drove home from hospital, suddenly a family of three with a car seat in the back and a tiny person a now permanent part of every equation. Autumn had arrived. The stickiness was gone, the air was cool, rain had set in, and the bright colours of summer had turned a little.
It is remarkable how much can change in just one day, even when you have been anticipating the change for months. This little thing was suddenly a very big part of our household. She was real, visible, constantly present. We were suddenly parents, making it up as we went along, all of the things we had been given or bought in preparation, being used and washed daily. A baby’s arrival seems to be one big planned for, expected shock.
My parents flew out, my Mum having spent a month with us, and it seemed that summer – a season in which we married and welcomed our baby, a season we had so indelibly circled in our minds’ calendars for months, was over. I felt and always will feel, truth be told, enormously nostalgic for a time that was, by and large, perfect. Hot and blue-skied, spent with dresses stretched over a big belly and constantly, wonderfully hungry for the fresh market food and kaffee und kuchen Mum and I went in search of daily. A time spent within this bubble of knowledge that a baby was coming, and part of this sheer excitement pulsing across and around the globe from friends and family as we waited and waited for everything to change irrevocably – it was a ledge we will never, having now leapt off, stand on again.
So she is here, the game changer, the newest character. She is half of me, a tiny Aussie, but a native of her father’s city, a city I chanced upon and chose through love. North Germany just became even more of a home, it became the only home my child will know for a long time.
I have a feeling we will learn a lot from each other.