Twenty-one years ago on a snowy evening like this one I went into labor and the following morning I became a mother. Has it been twenty-one years already? Has it only been twenty-one years? Nothing prepared me for that experience. Nothing. Not the well-intentioned warnings of veteran parents. Not the hundreds of parenting tomes that I had read in preparation for the grand event. It happens every day. It is the most routine of matters, giving birth. But, when it happens to you, the world shifts on its axis. It is the most extraordinary of events. The nurses handed me my baby and said, “Congratulations, mom.” I looked around. Who were they calling mom?
It didn’t go well for Mr. Baby and me in the beginning. We didn’t suit. I wanted to sleep, he didn’t. I wanted to go places and, apparently, where I went, he too, went. It was hard to wrap my mind around that. I relished quiet and order and he loved noise and chaos. We were really at cross purposes. As he clung to me with tightly fisted hands, his baby breath warm on my face, the enormity of the task loomed terrifyingly before me. I knew only one thing with clarity, I would throw myself in front of a train to keep my baby safe. It was a start. I threw out the books. I followed my gut. We taught each other. He cried, I cried.
Some days were endless, hauling the little fellow from one baby friendly apparatus to another, ten minutes under the Gymini, then ten in the swing, then ten in that bouncy seat. I looked at the clock and then, startled, looked again and wondered how it was possible for time to move backwards. Now, I wonder how it is that endless days turned into years that flew?
Today, I look out at the snow. He calls from college. “It’s snowing,” he says. “Do you remember,” I ask, “that it snowed the night I went into labor with you?” “I guess I don’t remember it that well” he replies. You were all there, my boy, in that tiny, little bundle they handed me. And, I was “mom” even if I didn’t realize it yet. We found our way, together. We figured it out.
It’s March 19th and you are twenty-one. Happy birthday, my sweet boy!