Joshua and I arrived in Minnesota this afternoon from Oklahoma.
My middle brother retrieved us at the airport, and promptly brought us home.
Of course, we were extremely eager to see my new niece.
She was not napping when we arrived. She was awake, being rocked in a rocking chair by her Granddad, when we walked into the kitchen.
She is so very beautiful I almost cried.
Josh and I had to hold her and rock her at once, naturally, and we immediately laid claim to feeding her her next bottle.
While I held her, she moved her arms and hands and fingers, as newborns are wont to do, and she appeared to be looking at me the whole time.
It was one of the great moments of my life, and I shall never forget it.
I have not forgotten the first time I held my nephew. I remember exactly how he looked that night. I remember his eyes and the expression on his face and the shape of his mouth whenever he yawned. I remember how proud my brother was, and how my brother could not help himself smiling. I remember how I had to lean down and kiss my nephew’s forehead over and over.
I had to do the same thing to my niece. It was a purely involuntary gesture on my part.
She didn’t seem to mind in the least.
My brother beams with pride, anew, over his daughter. Just like three years ago, when my nephew was an infant, my brother cannot help himself smiling.
He has great reason to smile.
Of course, everyone else was smiling, too, and with justification, since a baby is a miraculous thing.
My sister-in-law, relaxed and happy, is in glowing form. To look at her, one would never know she had given birth within the last three weeks.
She and my brother are perfectly fine. They do not look tired or wan in the least, apparently because they have been taking turns getting up in the middle of the night and giving my niece her bottle. Further, my parents have been handling the 6:00 a.m. bottle each morning, which must help a little, too.
My nephew was in high spirits today. He was delighted to see Josh and me. The dog was in high spirits, too, and delighted to see Josh and me as well.
In fact, everyone was pleased to see us—and we certainly were pleased to see everyone.
My parents are very thankful that everyone in the family is now home for the rest of the holidays. They very much missed not having Josh and me at home on Christmas Day for the second year in a row.
Tonight we all celebrated a second Christmas, because Josh and I exchanged our gifts with everyone. My mother had a grand dinner—half Norwegian, half English—prepared for us: Chicken Consomme; a cold Norwegian fish salad; Beef Wellington served with garlic potatoes, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and an orange-cranberry-nut salad; and an English Christmas Pudding. After we opened our gifts, we ate Norwegian Christmas fruit cookies.
It’s good to be home.
The next four days will pass all too quickly.