Friday, April 17, 2015

Happy Birthday...

Today marked the day I entered the world...more than fifty years ago. Last night, while I laid in bed, I thought about what it must've been like for my mother. According to her account, she had to "fight hard" to keep me. Apparently, at the time, all the doctors could tell her was to stay on her back and keep her feet elevated. No one seemed to know why she was having trouble holding her baby in her womb. So, as she told it to me, she did just that. Laid on her back for most of the forty weeks she carried me. When she went into labor, she said, it happened very fast. At 4:30 a.m. on April 16th, my dad drove her to the hospital. I was born at 4:45 a.m.

Talk about eager.

She said I was screaming the moment my head hit air. Screaming and hungry. She said I nursed every two and a half hours. Like clockwork, she said. You could set your watch to the screams, she said. It was as if I had some insatiable hunger that she could not fill, she said.

And I think about what it must have been like for her, I wonder if it was something she cherished or dreaded. Was I her bane? I have my Baby Book. There are no photos. Only a few notes she wrote shortly after my birth. I was her third child. I guess she was tired of filling up Baby Books by then. But the notes imply she was thrilled to have me. They are words of gratitude and even surprise. As if she didn't expect me to live.

How horrible would that be for a mother? To think that every time your child went to sleep, she might not wake up? GEEZ. Talk about a nightmare.

Today my mother is no longer on the planet. I cannot ask her these questions. I cannot know what it might have been like for her. I can only speculate. And hope. Hope that I was worth the trouble. Hope that I provided enough Joy to make up for the hassle of lying on her back for the entirety of her pregnancy. Hope that, when she left the planet, she was happy to have known me. As happy as I was to have known her. She was my hero. She was my anchor. She gave me Life. And, above that, Love. She encouraged me to keep reaching for the things that made me happy. And to use the hunger that's driven me my whole life, that insatiable hunger that still drives me, as fuel to feed the Creative spirit that is Me. I do my best, every single day, to live up to her esteem. To make her proud. Wherever she might be. And to remember, ALWAYS, that she was the one who taught me:

Joy is a CHOICE.

Happy Birthday to ME!

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