Yet, I can still recall with razor clarity that he was born at 12:40 p.m. (because I was hungry and they wouldn’t let me eat anything but ice chips and jello). It was bitterly cold but brilliantly sunny outside, with that pale high blue sky signaling the cusp of spring and the wind has blown the air clear of clouds. He was my second child. I remembered only too clearly 18 months before when his sister was born, and all of the prodding and poking various people in white uniforms and lab coats did when all I wanted to do was sleep and forget my surging belly. I hadn’t been in labour long. It wasn’t that bad. I’d gotten tired of pacing the hallways though, so my mind wandered instead. Once again, I was in a small pale green room on a high cold bed by myself (second fiddle to a staff meeting), with a procession of strangers mouthing soothing words and telling me it was all right to scream if I wanted to. Oh, but I didn’t… not then, anyhow. Me-mor-ies….
Even without my glasses, I could see everything that was going on in the huge mirror hanging over the delivery room table. The birthing room staff were talking about the previous night’s hockey game. I wanted to say, um, hello, I’m delivering a child here. But I didn’t. His shoulders got stuck. He was all hairy and wet and wizen-faced and bawling a get-me-out cry. Despite all of the goings-on, it had flashed in my mind at the time that I wanted to yell that as well and run far and fast. But with two children under two, there wasn’t much chance of me doing anything like that.
The gynecologist – I remember he was a shorter, older man wearing scuffed black wooden clogs – snapped a pair of rubber forceps around sonny’s neck and gave him a tug. And there he was, mouth wide in annoyance, waving his fat arms and legs like a beached crab. My boy. After they did the eye drops, clamped off the cord, recorded his weight and cleaned him up, they plopped him on my chest. And I fell in love.
Looking back, I realize that love kept me sane. Kept me from escaping into the sunset for another 30 years. Saved my life, in fact, so that I had time to find my Self again. They say God works in mysterious ways. I believe that. Happy birthday, my beloved son.