Pug turned one on Friday.
To celebrate, we drove to down to Florida, where Ong and Ba Ngoai live, and where Grandma and Grandpa happened to be visiting. Among my most treasured photos are those of birthdays in which I was surrounded by grandparents, siblings and cousins -- a madhouse of familial cacophony. It was a great (if deafening) indoctrination for Pug. Pug's first birthday was spent with both sets of grandparents, Uncle Bo and numerous extended family members including second and third cousins. Uncle Stan very nearly made it too, but had a last minute work situation arise; Aunts Hani, Souris and Kaly were in between phases of traveling but all called to wish him a happy birthday.
When I was growing up, my mother made all of our cakes; I could not imagine outsourcing Baby's first cake so I made one based on the baby blocks cake from my shower. The cake was a lemon pound cake with cream cheese frosting and wrapped in colored sheets of white chocolate linen, which I use in lieu of fondant. I find the taste of fondant revolting; the chocolate linen serves the same function, but with superior flavor.
Tonight, we were at a restaurant with Ong Ba Ngoai (Grandma and Grandpa continued on their trip and will meet up again with us in two weeks) and Uncle Bo. Our server, noting the table littered with baby toys and homemade food laughed. "What did you ever do before a baby?" she queried.
Pug was a little more exhausted than usual; his birthday party yesterday began at 5 pm and ran through midnight, Pug conking out an hour later than his normal 8:30 pm bedtime; nestled in his sling in my arms, he rested his head on my chest and fell asleep.
What did we do before our Puggle?
We had forgotten how to appreciate the joys of discovery. Blasé and world weary, we have rediscovered how to enjoy long-forgotten "firsts." The first feel of rain on a cheek. The first taste of jam. The purring of a cat when a chubby hand is taught to stroke her back (and her startled shriek when a chubby fist grabs hold of her tail).
We did not know that hearts can literally melt when Baby smiles his first toothy grin.
We did not know there was such good in the world; or see a world of such danger.
We woke and slept at will; but we have accepted that the giggling we hear in the morning is the best wake up call imaginable.
We worked and earned a buck, but now with direction and purpose. Everything is for Puggle.
Before Puggle I did not know how warm a baby's body feels when he falls asleep on your chest, or how full he makes your arms feel.
The only other thing that overflows as much is your heart, and especially when you see your husband cuddling with your son.
I could go on and on. When Puggle was born, my aunt Lori sent me a message: "Welcome to true love," she wrote.
So back to the question: what did we do before Pug came along?
We were waiting to discover this true love in the best year ever of our lives.