The love I have felt during the nine months of the hardship of my pregnancy has overflowed these past few days after Juliette was born. We sent out a message announcing her birth, and so many of the responses back were filled with excitement that rivalled our own. When we called Australia to let my parents know, my mother screamed like a pre-teen at a rock concert. My sister, whose own daughter now has her first female cousin to play with, is bubbling over with joy and already spoiling my little girl with gifts. A friend with four girls over her own said she was literally shivering with excitement, and then called her husband at work to announce "it's a girl," where his co-workers thought for a brief moment the announcement was actually his, not a family friend! In the emails responses, people coo over her perfectly smooth skin and gush over her name.
Visits in the hospital brought thoughtful gifts - fruit trays (how well my friends no me!) and a Sophie toy (I've always wanted one for my baby, but never gotten one) and diapers (always my go-to gift for new moms) and beautiful clothing (so Juliette doesn't have to wear her brother's truck sleepers).
When I arrived home from the hospital, a secret friend had decorated the front of our house with banners and balloons and streamers. The gesture brought a smile and a tear, firstly because of the surprise, but then also because while I had no idea who did it, there are at least 10 likely candidates, which reaffirmed to me just how much I am loved by those around me.
On my way out on Saturday night, a car pulled up beside our driveway. A woman hopped out, of grandparent age. I did not recognize her, and when she approached me she confirmed that we had never met. She lives in the apartment across the street from us, and said she had often watched our family through the years we've lived here. She handed me a beautiful card welcoming our new baby girl, and fondly reminisced about her own four little children, also all born close together. She said she just wanted to wish us well.
Gifts that are the epitome of generosity have poured in. The handful of neutral sleepers that had lain in the bare dresser drawers have been replaced with piles of pinks and purples. Tiny toys and plush blankets. A visit to a neighbour nearly meant me having to leave Juliette there - that's how much this little baby is loved.