It is lovely, when I forget all birthdays, including my own, to find that somebody remembers me. Ellen Glasgow
I tend to wax nostalgic on my birthday. I’ve been on this earth for 58 years now. Most of the time spent in awe and wonder, interspersed with occasional times of inevitable sadness.
My son’s father sent me a picture that drew my mind back into the past. In the picture I’m standing on the beach in Macau with my 2 children, looking across the bay at mainland china.
This moment in time happened about 35 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. The feel of the sand on my toes, the warm sea air caressing my skin, my son’s sweaty little sumo wrestler body clinging to me like a baby monkey, my daughter asking a thousand questions, delighting in every sea shell – every grain of sand. It was a peaceful day that’s been lingering in the back of my brain for decades.
I think living a long wonderful life takes a bit of mental effort. If you let your brain sit back and randomly spew memories, you don’t know what you’re gonna get. A deliberate choice to remember happy times takes some mental gyrations, but the rewards are plentiful.
Today is my darling daughter’s 40th birthday. Happy Birthday to her. She entered the world at 6:15 am. The doctor was grateful for her early arrival. He didn’t have to miss the Cowboys game. I wasn’t awake for the actual birth. The nurse told me they knocked me out because I was yelling and cursing like a sailor. Well? You try giving birth as fast as you can so no one misses a damn football game. Go on I dare ya!
They told me that I said “oh my God, is that my kid?” when they first showed her to me. She had a huge shock of black hair which they combed into a Mohawk. Go figure. Punk wasn’t the fashion yet. I guess they didn’t want to scare me too much. Later I discovered that without the comb-over she looked like she was electrocuted. She also had one finger hooked on her lower eyelid, pulling it down to about her elbow. I knew right then that it was going to be a strange trip.
It certainly has been so far. I love her more than life itself. But there have been times over the years that I’ve wanted to strangle her with my bare hands. She started making noise before she could talk and hasn’t shut up since. Back then they carted babies around in what looked like a giant egg crate on wheels. As the nurse wheeled them down the hall one baby was yelling about 3 times as loud as the other babies. I actually said out loud “Oh dear, I feel sorry for the mother of that baby.” That baby was my daughter, of course.
She got quiet as soon as they handed her to me. She stared at me solemnly and started sucking on her hand. There was a blister on her hand where she was doing that in the womb. Love at first sight is difficult when you are woozy from anesthetic, but we grew on each other fast. When she discovered that I could feed her she got right to it and has been hungry ever since.
Any parent could write a book about all the experiences they had with a child. It goes on for your entire life. So this story is far from finished. I hope she has a wonderful birthday.