We didn't let the rain that kept Rachel from being able to visit stop us from dropping by her mother's art opening party at Heaven's Dog. We were headed downtown to pick up your father anyway and the restaurant was on the way. You fell asleep--you still had a habit of falling asleep back then in your first car seat. I found parking right across the street and though it had stopped raining I felt a little nervous illegally crossing Mission in the middle of the block but did it anyway: your weight was enough to make me take shortcuts. You didn't wake up right away and when you did in the middle of that cocktail party you didn't cry; you just opened your eyes. You always loved parties and were never intimidated by a crowd. People always noticed and commented on you being big, cute, alert, or good not necessarily in that order or all in the same day, but nonetheless all the time. There were almost no other kids, only their immediate family, the place was full of people standing around in clusters eating drinking chatting and occasionally looking up at the walls. I got you out of the seat so you could meet Rachel, then Frankie, but it was her nephew Nemo and niece Ella who were smitten with you the most. They took turns holding you, and while you were in those not yet fully grown arms they gave put the stuffed carrot toy Rachel had given you in your hand, and for the first time you didn't let it drop.
You held on to something for the first time on your own, with your little hand, and though the victory was yours I was the one to feel both the pride and the instant sadness that follows such a moment. I immediately understood that it would always be that way, because I was and always would be your mother.
(photo taken a few weeks later with the same toy)