I had big plans for last Sunday. I was going to get up early, before the sun, and head out to see the local balloon festival. It’s an annual event but I always seem to forget about it.
I looked it up online. Gates opened at 6:00 AM, the “balloon glow” started at 6:30, lift off begun at 7:00. I wasn’t sure what a balloon glow is, but it sounded like it would take my breath away. I planned on wasting the morning away, wandering around looking at the craft booths and buying trinkets when the launch was over. I charged and packed my camera, getting ready the night before. I set my alarm for the 4:45 and I had to leave the house by 5:00. (Those who know me are guffawing right now.)
I slept through my alarm. All four of them. Typical.
So. New plan! Get out of the house for the usual (I say “usual” but it’s only been a month of doing this, so you should read “usual” as “trying to be cool about it but then you see me wriggle excitedly”) brunch date with the lovely Linnea, her awesome husband Jeremy, and their beautiful baby Eleanor. We watch Doctor Who, eat tasty things, and generally nerd out all over the place together. I always end up bogarting the baby (because, honestly, who wouldn’t hog a baby that cute all to themselves at every available opportunity?), jiggling her in my arms for most of the day, staring at/planting kisses on the back of her head for most of it because she likes to be able to face out and see! things! When she tolerates me holding her and, you know, actually looking at her sweet little face, ohhhhh. It’s marvelous. It has become a bit of a running joke by now: any time Eleanor smiles at me, a full fledged gummy grin that reaches up to her eyebrows and lights up her whole face, I exclaim how “I DIE”.
Sundays are what I look forward to all week. I’m new to having actual friends, but I think I’m doing ok at/with this development.
Once the Who episode ended on last Sunday, Linnea and I played around with makeup (I’m not used to it and that copper lipstick was SCARY, no matter what Linnea might say to try and convince me otherwise.) and we made a trip to Hobby Lobby where we bought yarn for baby blankets (me) and ribbons to make hair bows (Linnea. Also, I will probably be drafted to help with this. Which I am totally fine with because OMG TEENY BABIES WITH HAIR BOWS!)
At the end of the night, just before I had to leave, we plopped Eleanor on a blanket in the living room. I’d heard Linnea say on Twitter that Eleanor had learned in the last couple of days how to scootch forward, a new skill that I hadn’t seen her do the week before, so of course I wanted to see it. But she didn’t seem very keen on rolling onto her belly and in fact she seemed pretty happy to just look up at us so, just for kicks, I started tickling her belly and doing that articulated, over-exaggerated laugh that you do with babies, that “a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” that you do.
And she laughed for the first time at me. I’d seen her do it before but was rare and it was always at Jeremy’s beard tickling her.
But this time she laughed at me.
So there I was, sitting in the middle of the living room floor surrounded by friends, clutching my chest for fear that my heart would fly right out of it otherwise, and you know what you can’t do when you are clutching your chest? Tickle a baby. So I’d start tickling her and there’d she go again with the giggling, and I’d hold my wildly beating, delighted heart in and dissolve into laughter and we did this over and over and oh! Look at that. There I am. Lighter than air.
Like a balloon.