Presley's been checking out her friends hanging around her gym mat. She seems to be especially smitten with Mr. Frog these days. She's not the only one processing things around here.
One of my co-workers back in Knoxville passed away two weeks ago. I had no idea she had cancer until I returned from maternity leave in April. It happened quickly. Just a few weeks before Presley was born, there was news that she was going to be out for awhile. She never went back. On October 21 she hugged me goodbye on my last day in Knoxville, but it was my goodbye hug to her too. We just didn't know it at the time. I spent most of my days at that job with Deborah. She sat right outside my office, and we spent our days laughing, making sense of mountains of paper work, sharing stories, venting (because what else are co-workers for?), and laughing some more. My time there was heavily influenced by Deborah -- the woman with impeccably coordinated outfits, the lover of garage sales, the "voice" of the community for 16 years as the receptionist. It was hard to grieve from afar when surrounded by co-workers in Memphis who never knew Deborah or how wonderful she was. Time froze but everyone here missed the memo. On the day of her celebration of life and purple balloon release, I wore my purple pants in her honor and made a conscious effort to have fun at work -- just like we used to do.
But life is always full circle. As I mourned the loss of a co-worker and friend, three close friends shared their pregnancy news with me -- two of whom are first-time moms. I couldn't be happier for them. I started thinking about my own pregnancy experiences which quickly spiraled into a longing for Presley's kicks from inside my belly. Oh, those kicks, how I loved them so! Growing a human was draining in the beginning but magical in the end. I miss having her in my belly and with me always. Her kicks, hiccups, and squirming were like little love letters to me. (Oh, dear god. Somebody, stop me. I'm overflowing with feelings, obviously!)
And so, that's what's new around here over the last two weeks other than Presley's ever-changing ways. I just needed some time to process. How sneaky cancer is. How pregnancy is different for everyone. How much I need to hang on to every little thing that Presley does in these baby days, because tomorrow she'll be so different already.