Each year on our birthdays, we're reminded by a certain someone of the day we were born. Our mothers go over the details we've heard a thousand times. We listen, sometimes with feigned interest because it's 2:27 in the morning, and we let them remember the experience like it was yesterday. I know mom, you kicked the anesthesiologist in the face, we say. The truth is, until we become a mother ourselves we can't fully understand why our own moms have done this year after year. It is because, while our birthday is important to us, it is equally if not MORE important to our mothers.
I write all of this as my son approaches his first birthday. For months, cakes and themes and invites and baby books have held my mind hostage. A train cake? A rainbow cake? Paper invites, or an E-vite? Do we invite everyone we know, or do we keep it small? Do we get a clown? A pony? Do we cater it? Or do I cook and lose my head?
Thankfully, in the midst of that madness I will have a moment of clarity and I will think... my son has been on this planet for almost one year. What?! How did that happen? I gave birth to him yesterday. If "yesterday" is equivalent to March 15th, 2009. Oh, what a day that was! I suppose my yearly tale to me son will go something like this...
It was beautiful out. Your father brought beer and music to the hospital room. It felt like a party, minus the contractions. Your grandparents were rushing to make it in time, from as near as Palm Desert and as far as Minnesota. Friends and family flooded the waiting room. Wonderful nurses... angels, saints, my best friends. Juice, jello, an epidural. You took your time at first and then came fast. It was a piece of cake. Ten fingers, ten toes. More beer. A celebration!!
Something like that. He will hear a version of that tale this year (although he may not understand me) and every year after that. Because I am his mother. I am the one responsible for his birthday! (Well, his dad shares this responsibility but this site is letters from me, right? Right.) It is a day for us to celebrate such an awesome accomplishment. It is a day for us to remember. It is not a day for us to stress about ponies and scary clowns.
Now that I am a mother, I understand all of this. I understand why parents (there you go, dads) feel such joy on their children's birthdays. Thus, on my own birthday this year (oops, already went by, next year), I will act like I've never heard the story of my mom arriving to the hospital in a limo. Tell me more, mom, tell me the whole story!! That's what I will say. I will not stress over my son's birthday cake. Much. I will not stress much. And I will always, ALWAYS recall the details of March 15th, 2009. To anyone willing to listen.