I have a niece!

Ben and Manda had their first child, Daphne Rose, on November 5.

I was unfortunately unable to be there for her birth–I missed it by a week! I’d had it all planned out; her due date was October 27, a Wednesday, so I took my last three vacation days for the year and went to Kentucky. I had a great visit, getting to spend time with Mom, Dad, Ben, Manda, AJ, Faye, Connor, Logan, and Uncle Steve. I helped Mom out by doing a little painting, I hung out with AJ while he worked on a construction project, and I spent time with Faye and her sister Viota after all their kids went trick-or-treating on the 30th. But I had to leave on Sunday, October 31, and there was still no baby.

Manda actually had to be induced on November 4, and she was in labor until Daphne was finally born at 12:26 am the next day.

I was pretty dejected towards the end of my trip and during the week until she was born, but since then I’ve been able to see lots of pictures and a couple of videos, and I know I’m going to get to hold that sweet baby over Thanksgiving, so I’m feeling happier. I really wish I lived close enough to pop up to Kentucky over a normal weekend, though.

While I was up there waiting for her to be born, I dropped off a few presents. One was a funny puppet I bought at Arts in the Heart while Yoko was here visiting. The other two were Totoro products, since Ben and Manda have a Totoro theme in Daphne’s bedroom. The first one they opened was a pretty little jewelry/music box that plays the theme from the movie and has a little Totoro who spins in a circle. The second was a stuffed animal Totoro, which both Ben and Manda was completely enamored with. (“I didn’t know I needed to get three of them!” I said.)

Now that Daphne’s here, I’ve been thinking more and more about what her life will be like and what sorts of things I can do for her. I’m hoping one day to be able to help all my nieces and nephews study abroad (assuming their parents are cool with that), but that’s way down the road. This past Saturday I saw the Columbia County Ballet perform The New Nutcracker at the Imperial Theatre, and it was so neat to see all those kids dancing so well, I started to wonder if Daphne might try ballet. I was in ballet classes for awhile as a kid, but for some reason I hated it. I was very shy back then and preferred to be at home with my family rather than out with strangers, and I was terrified of performing…so that’s probably why. But Ben and Manda aren’t shy people, so their daughter might not have the same hangups I did. If she would enjoy ballet lessons, I’d love to help out with that too.

But even that is still way in the future. For now, she’s a tiny, beautiful baby :) I can’t wait to meet her.