christmas. it was sweet and sentimental. zineb wore her santa pajamas.
i stayed up until 2:30 on christmas eve finishing zineb's gifts, wrapping other family members' items, and enjoying the quiet, productive hours of the early early morning. every stitch pulled gently at my heartstrings. the work of my hands, for her. in each minute of each day.
here we are in 2012 and tomorrow is zineb's first birthday. at this time, on this day of 2011 i was round; full. my mother and father sat with us in the evening next to the pellet stove in our living room. my mother and i held each other and when zineb moved, we both felt it. we awaited her arrival. the downward view over zineb on my ritual morning walks with gus had steadily included less and less of my feet, until i could not see them at all.
those stitches pulling at my heartstrings started long long before zineb's first christmas. during a tenuous pregnancy fueled solely by the purest strains of hope and faith, i knit. i knit when i could only sit still, i knit on hot days at the beach, i knit during long hours of insomnia and i knit through days and days of waiting for my breech baby to turn. she did not. i believed in my body's ability and i waited for her to flip. she did not. i played music to her feet, hoping she would investigate and move her head down to listen. i did inversions. i considered an external cephalic version, and agonized over the possible outcomes. in the end, a uniquely grown placenta made that decision for me. a c-section was scheduled. i called my mother and she came and held me while i cried. i was scared. but my heartstrings held up. i packed our bags and on january 3rd at 6 AM, my mother and sister met us at the hospital. smiling, laughing, nervous, excited, tired. an instinctual power rushed through my veins, and my soul rose up to meet my daughter.
at 8:25 AM, zineb was born. i had surgery for the first time in my life. she cried immediately and i cried with her. nabil kissed me and thanked me and held me. zineb laid on my chest and nabil whispered welcome blessings into her ear. he held her and carried her to our room. and all was silent as my body was closed back up, alone with my kindest of kind doctor.
it was the most challenging and beautiful of years. i know i will not remember all the things that i want to remember, and that is the lush truth of living completely. i am thankful for the ample supply of love that rose up to meet me as i faltered over and over again, from within and without.
we have done so much growing. zineb took her first steps on december 15th. i was washing the dishes (a very tall pile at that), and just like that, she walked from nabil to me. i cried, it surprised me so.
she is there with me in the morning when i awake, and hers is the last breath i hear before i drift off to sleep.
happy birthday, zineb amal robbins-sibouih. you have given me strength. my heartstrings are mended.