Dear Ophelia,

Yesterday you turned four months old. It is amazing to me how fast it all goes by. I know everyone says that but it happens to be true. You are such a little person now. You laugh all the time. Sometimes you will give me the silliest giggles and sometimes you give a huge open-mouth laugh. It cracks me up because you look like you're trying to catch flies. The other day your dad saw you roll over while I was sleeping in the other room. I'm a little bummed that I missed that milestone but since your dad gets to see very few of your "firsts" I was happy for him. You've just figured out that you can get away with playing while you eat. When you're nursing you will stop, look up at me until you get a smile, smile yourself then voraciously resume eating. Repeat. Again and again and again. You think you are the funniest baby ever and I happen to agree. Also, while you're nursing you sometimes start smacking my breast as if to say, "Come on boobie, give me all you got!" Yes, I frequently make up your inner monologues.

Yesterday also marked another important day. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant with you. This story is another one of those that I am wonder whether or not I should share with you. On the one hand, it is part of your story, not only mine. Why should I hide the truth from you? On the other hand, this particular story might upset you. Maybe not. I don't know. I've known since I was a young child that my parents didn't plan on having children so my mother's pregnancy came as quite the shock. But they also told me that I was never unwanted and I never felt as if I was. My hope is that you will feel the same.

June 8, 2011 was a Wednesday. I was working as a Substitute Teacher and your dad was the Assistant Manager for the Discovery Bay Safeway but we both happened to have that day off. I woke up that morning with untamable nerves. My period was days late and while that hadn't been too worrisome the night before for some reason it lit a fire under me that morning. I dressed, left your dad asleep in bed, and walked the five blocks from our Lake Merritt apartment to the drugstore on Broadway. I remember that walk so well. I remember thinking to myself that either I would forget that walk within a few days or I would remember that walk for the rest of my life. As you now know, the latter won out. I bought the pregnancy test and headed back home. The instructions tell you that after you pee on the stick you should put it on a flat surface and wait five minutes for the full results. But that was completely unnecessary. As soon turned to put the stick on the edge of the sink I saw that very obvious + sign. I didn't know this at the time but your dad was awake in the other room, listening intently (or so he tells me). He claims that technically we found out I was pregnant at exactly the same time because as I read the test I let out an audible gasp before yelling "ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOB! WAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!" He ran in, read the test and immediately started trying to prevent my hyperventilation. How was I going to have a baby in a one-bedroom apartment? I had finally gotten an internship with a publishing house. Had I just demolished all my career options?

It took me a long time to calm down and as you can probably guess it pissed me off how calm your dad was about the whole thing. We (obviously) decided to have you and started planning how we were going to move up the wedding we had planned to have the following year, two months after you were expected to arrive. I'm not going to lie to you, Ophelia. Last summer was sad. Or maybe I was just sad. I was sick and exhausted most of the time. Sometimes I feel like I slept through my whole first trimester (I find this ironic considering this summer I don't plan on sleeping a wink). Your dad and I were distant. I knew that he wanted better for you than for him to be working a job completely unsympathetic to people with families, living in an apartment that could barely house the two of us. It wasn't until after our wedding in late September that things really started looking up. On our honeymoon your dad got a call about his online resume. A small family-owned grocery store in San Francisco was looking for two managers for their small chain. That next month your dad went through their lengthy interview process and landed the job. We were both so damn happy. It meant everything that he would be working much closer to home, off on all major holidays and was finally employed by a family-friendly store. Dad started his new job at Rincon Market just a week before we moved into our two-bedroom apartment, the very apartment in which you would enter the world 3 months later.

We finally felt like we had our ducks in a row by the time you got here. And what about now? Well, I won't say it's easy but life is good. It wound up being a blessing having you before my career could take off. Now I have plenty of time to spend with you without worrying about returning to a job that I left. I start a credential program in the fall and I'm writing more now (and getting published a little too) than I was before you were born. Your dad is happy working in the city and his commute takes all of 20 minutes! We spend our days off together taking day trips to regional parks, going for short hikes and cooking knockout meals with Aunt Mary. You've made our lives so rich just by being born. You made us a family and taught me to slow down and savor every precious minute. Thank you, my serendipitous baby, for being the missing piece.