Friday morning was full of last minute packing, frantic conference calls, hurried errands and an unnecessary rush to the train station. You see, I thought the only obstacle standing between me and meeting my niece was work. I had a ticket for a 5:00 train but was hoping I could get on the earlier 2:00 train so I could get to Boston before visiting hours ended at the hospital and meet Regina Cristi. I arrived at Penn Station at 1:40 and impatiently waited to print my online ticket from the kiosk behind a man scrolling through train schedules for the whole northeast. For what later became an obvious reason but just seemed irritating at the kiosk, I couldn't switch my ticket to the earlier time so I had to get in yet another line. With less than ten minutes before the 2:00 train I made it to an open window and was told every train was sold out for the rest of the day and I was lucky to have a seat on the 5:00. Lucky.
Rather than dragging my not-so-heavy but not-exactly-light bag back through the unseasonably sweltering subway to the office or home, I opted to wait at Penn Station. As I was eating the salad with soggy croutons I picked up over an hour ago in the waiting area I decided to try and catch a matinee at the movie theater across the street. I looked up movies and showtimes on my blackberry and came up with a list of movies I had either never heard of or had absolutely no desire to see. I decided to walk over just in case the internet listings were wrong. They weren't. The one day I have a couple of hours to kill in the middle of the day, I can't find a movie worth seeing.
There is something romantic about train travel. Maybe it is the timelessness of it. The idea that one hundered years ago I could have been living in New York City and followed essentially the same path to meet my new niece by boarding a train in Penn Station heading toward Boston. Luckily, the Acela train is faster and more comfortable than it was one hundred years ago. But in keeping with my travel woes, just before the train reached Providence we were informed there was an obstruction on the tracks. The obstacles felt endless.
But I wasn't the only anxious passenger. It wasn't until we reached our stop nearly an hour late around 9:30 that I realized why the train was so full. Why all the trains were so full. Not only was this Columbus Day weekend but the Boston Red Socks were in the playoffs and many, many fans were late to the game.
But I had another game to watch to distract me from the fact that I had to wait until morning to meet Regina and feel like an aunt.
I fell in love the instant I saw her. No, that isn't right. I was already in love with her, long before she was born. But when I met her it deepened into something beautiful and inexplicable. We belong to each other. Our relationship is already carved out - it is now up to me to ensure I play it out to the best of my abilities. To play with her, to listen to her, to endulge her. I have looked forward to this for longer than I realized and meeting her exceeded all my expectations.
The rest of the weekend can only be described as passing too quickly. I did my best to let mom and dad welcome their baby home without stealing their beautiful little charmer away. I cleaned up dishes and baked welcome home chocolate chip cookies and Sunday brunch, including Tiff's amazing German pancakes of happiness because what better way to celebrate a new baby? But all the while, I was anxiously awaiting the moment when Jason or Nadia turned to me and asked "do you want her?" You know I never declined.
So here are some of the photos from my first weekend with Regina.
And even better, here is a fun video in which my cute little brother dresses his daughter for her trip home from the hospital. I tried not to giggle too much but it was hard.