You Say it’s Your Birthday?

February 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

This weekend, I’ll celebrate my twenty-eighth birthday, or at least the anniversary of my twenty-eighth birthday. When you think of the word, which of course I do, the emphasis is on the birth. So, I keep thinking about my birth-day, and how it was my parents’ birth-day too. They never talked about many details of that February day, and who can blame them? Five births, four in winter, must have quickly morphed into one. My sisters were six, four, and two, so they can’t tell me too much. I’ve never thought about it from my parents’ point of view until now:

I think of the fact that my mom had been in a car accident and had her appendix removed while pregnant with me. That’s why they nicknamed me “Tuffy.”  I think of how they must’ve worried that I would not be right, that I wouldn’t live. I was fine, despite some jaundice, so they put me under the lights. I pinked up. Tuffy.

I think of all my sisters, waiting at home with the baby sitter, maybe Roberta? Maybe my Grandmother, but I have no idea if she was there. I think of what my grandfather said to my mother, that he wished she’d have a hard time, so she wouldn’t have so many children, that she was just like a cat having kittens–disgraceful! She didn’t have a hard time, with me, before me, or the next time. She passed that gift onto me, it seems.

I think about how it was more their day than mine, my first day, and I like to think they were happy and relieved, and that they couldn’t believe I had such tiny fingers and toes. I think how young they were: twenty-five and thirty, and how with me as the fourth child, they were already running a zone defense. I think of the three of us maybe cuddled in the hospital room, and how my dad’s colleagues must have come by to see if I was a boy. Bets were surely paid off. Jokes were undoubtedly made.

I wonder if it was snowing, and if they watched it fall through the hospital window, and if they passed me back and forth, careful to cup the back of my head. I wonder if they felt their world had changed and wondered what I might be like at say, twenty-eight?



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