eleven months

Last Christmas, you were still a question mark.

I opened boxes with your name on them, and I folded dresses and hats into drawers overfilling with little things for you:  real, but not really. Or rather, not yet.

Christmas Eve 2010, Anaheim, Calif.

We spent Christmas with my parents, and I worried you would come early, while we were far from home, maybe even while we were traveling, so before we left, I plotted all of the hospitals along the State Route 99 corridor just in case. That is how I plan. Superstitiously, and for events unlikely to happen.

She's afraid she would not like to hold Baby Cousin Samuel, thank you.

She will happily pose with him and his big brother, Victor, though.

But you were born a month later exactly. My right-on-time baby.

It being Christmasy, I could compare you to a gift or to a miracle. And those you are.

But also, you are a question mark.

Still.

The new face at a big table. Figuring us out while we figure you out. All the time.

Christmas Day 2010, El Monte, Calif.

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