My 2011 started on February 14 when my daughter was born. It sounds soppy, cliched and trite. I know. I don't mean for it to be so bleugh emo but it's true. Up until that point, 2011 had been a nasty little year. The last two weeks before I gave birth were particularly dreadful and I mainly remember cuddling up with my teddy bear to fall asleep.
Childbirth was a nice distraction from all of that. It's hard to think of being unhappy when you're in a lot of pain and then when the pain goes away the happiness is overwhelming. It's amazing how much attention pain takes.
I went into labour on Sunday February 13 after having sporadic contractions from the Friday before that. The pain was incredible and then it got a lot worse. The hours between 2am and 5.30am just disappeared in a foggy haze. I have no idea where I was.
The epidural kicked in at just before sunrise and I was pain free as the night turned into a morning twilight. It was beautiful. I could see the lights over south Bristol. I could see the sun rise.
Everything was beautiful. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the world.
It was a feeling almost as amazing as when I found out I was pregnant. I don't know if you've read Marian Keyes the Brightest Star but part of its narration is done by a little soul trying to find a couple to which it can belong. That's what being pregnant felt like. As if there was a little bright light inside me and it was love. It's hard to believe that things won't turn out ok once you have that in your life.
So the day for lovers was the day for love in my year.
The rest of 2011 seems a bit foggy. There were a few excursions, restaurants, meetings with friends, a trip to Greece, one to Hertfordshire, and some reviews along the way.
I am a little stuck on our last two trips so I won't venture too far from those. I'll save the extreme nostalgia post for February 13/14 and leave you with memories from December.
Mersina loved my mum's cat Ginger (aka psipsi) and would keen and croon whenever she spotted her. Ginger was terrified of M and spent the first few days running away and hiding.
The view of Athens from the Acropolis Museum.
My mum audaciously bypassed a queue of at least 50 people at the Tax Office and successfully used the baby as an excuse to be served next. M's most anti-English moment.
We had a lovely second Christmas at M's grandparents' house in Hertfordshire. The whole family spent hours and hours playing and keeping her entertained. Her best buddy was Uncle James who I think got the most cuddles of all until disaster struck. We were in the living room and Mersina was sitting on the floor near the door, with her daddy on one side of her and me on the other. Uncle James came into the room and I watched the door open quite slowly until it made contact with the baby. It didn't hurt her but she sat looking up at him in shock. It wasn't funny but I still find it fascinating that neither of us reached out to stop the door. Her shock was one of the most touching things to see and all the apologies from Uncle James didn't seem to make any impact. She just stared at him open mouthed.
My favourite memory from a couple of days ago was sitting at Cinnamon Square, in Rickmansworth, one of M's daddy's favourite places. Lots of little children were running around and there was a room off the main part where cooking and baking parties could take place. Mersina's eyes were huge as she watched all the activity. She loves people and especially children and she was so fascinated she had almost glazed over in rapture. Really.
Martin and I had flat whites (which were not flat whites) and I had the nicest cinnamon square. The moment was sweet but the best part was thinking that in a few years she would be visiting here on her own with daddy and the rest of the family and living out her own memories. It was like a glimpse of another reality.