Norah’s First Trip Around the Sun


Norah’s first trip around the sun landed her smack on lunar new year’s day for the anniversary of her birth. I have this lovely mental image of her holding one hand with the sun and spinning around to meet her other hand with the moon to spin around it, those powerful feet kicking off of the stars for momentum.

Norah discovering her birthday balloons

Norah's first birthday was full of magical things like floating balloons.

But let’s be honest. This past year Norah was OUR sun. She has drawn us in, brightened our world and everything has revolved around her. Rightly so. She did not have a simple or easy start. My other blog posts are full of those details so I’ll not dwell there.

We’ve learned so much about our daughter in this first year already. According the the lunar (Chinese) zodiac, Norah is a tiger. It is quite entertaining to read the description of the tiger. Here’s a clip that I found particularly apropro:

“The Tiger, the living symbol of strength and power, generally inspires fear and respect. Tigers’ compelling dynamism, intense activity, independence and curiosity about others make them irresistible, persons of multiple charms; Tigers attract followers and admirers. The Tiger is courageous, active and self-assured, and makes an excellent leader and protector. However liberal-minded Tigers may be, they are passionate, rash, and resist the authority of others. Although they are selfish in the little things, they are capable of great generosity, even of altruism, in the larger. Tigers are men and women of action, thrust by destiny into the spotlight.

Certainly the description holds some of the very traits we are seeing in Norah. Strength. Power. Curiosity. Attract followers and admirers. Resist the authority of others. That is our girl. But like the rest of us no zodiac can contain all of the nuances that make us individuals. And it’s a gorgeous thing to watch my daughter develop and hone her individual nuances. They become stronger and more apparent every day.

I love her dramatic faces. I love how she enjoys time in bed on her own to process her day, practice her talking, moving, waving. I occasionally feel guilty for spying on her with the monitor when she believes she is unseen. Only occasionally. And briefly. Even the way Norah has learned to crawl is indicative of her strong desire to be to the next step (without much regard for the process) She is so ready to stand she crawls with one knee out as if at any time she’ll bolt upright and start running. And we often see her sitting, bouncing her bottom up and down as if sheer desire will propel her where she wants to go. I’m sure it will, too, if we can harness it and not let it settle into pools of frustration.

I’ve never felt a love like I have for Norah. I feel it in each of my cells. Each bit of joy Norah encounters and each bit of pain tweek the cells like an acupuncture needle. Zing. Smile. Zing. Cry. Zing.

And Norah’s birthday has been a zinger. She woke last night with her first fever. And so it was that I ended up walking and bouncing her just after the clock turned over to her birthday. Walking and bouncing just like we did for the first 5 + months of her life.  She finally fell asleep, I put her back in her crib and the spot in my arms where her head had been seemed to burn for minutes afterwards. And I dreamt in fever dreams from my own childhood once I fell back asleep. Her fever was gone by morning and she’s just been tired, cranky and a bit warm off and on. We had planned to meet her daddy for lunch for her birthday but instead she and I bunked up and did very little on her actual day.

Thank goodness, then, that her party was the Saturday before and she was fit as a fiddle for that. It really turned out to be an amazing day. The love surrounding Norah was palpable. And with that underlying everything just felt charmed. I am not exaggerating this. I’ve hosted a handful of parties in my time and none have had this air. The difference here is probably that I didn’t do much hosting. As always I cannot thank our family and friends, near and far, enough for all of the help…and that precious, precious, room-filling love.

Tiger puppet at Norah's first birthday party

Tiger puppet waving from handmade (by Nana) puppet theatre.

Norah loved the party decorations, floating balloons, sparkly dangling flowers, shiny hanging tinsel, it was all fascinating to her. Nana sewed a doorway puppet theatre that was a huge hit. The bigger kids put on puppet shows. Stu jumped in and directed them in “Jack and the Bean Stalk” complete with witty commentary. Norah’s Great Uncle Chuck performed “Norah Bug”, the song he had written chronicling her first year. We all joined in for the chorus. It was so touching. The whole celebration was nearly perfect. Nearly. As ever we were missing our distant family in England and Minneasotta. But we felt the love from afar.