20 February 2008

Your song

Eleven years ago, your father and I drove to Burbank airport to pick up your grandmother, my mother, so she could watch your brother when I entered the hospital the following morning to have you. I picked your birthday, in theory, which I always felt was a bit of a cheat. The OB wanted to induce you on the 19th, but I said, no, I wasn't available that day (can you believe that? What else is a woman who is ready to pop going to be doing?), so she said, ok, the 20th.

I wanted you to be born on an even-numbered day. I am weird that way.

Grandma M. wasn't supposed to visit until you were born. But in the same way your brother's birth was heralded by the Northridge Earthquake, you were borne upon a windstorm...JPL clocked gusts of 120 mph for that January storm. Our community lost 300 trees, and we lost our power for four days. Grandma B. fell and broke her wrist trying to open her garage door, and we decided she wasn't up to watching a rambunctious 3-year-old, so we called in the cavalry.

We happened to walk into the airport at the same time as two police officers. The male officer said to me, "Hey! I'm certified to deliver babies, so feel free to go ahead and have it right now if you want to!" His female partner smacked him on the arm, but I laughed, and said, no, I didn't actually want you until the following morning.

You screamed bloody murder upon your entrance to the world, and you didn't stop screaming until we left the hospital 4 days later. I could hear your shrieks and whoops all the way from the nursing station. But you must have gotten whatever was bugging you out of your system because you've been a remarkably quiet child ever since. Unless, of course, I tried to put a dress on you. I'm fairly certain the neighbors believed I was in the process of murdering you when you were 18 months old and ran out the front door screaming and tearing at your clothes. Because I'd put a dress on you.

I didn't feel the same rush of possessiveness when I held you the first time, but then I'd been possessive of you from the moment I first saw your fierce little heart beating on the ultrasound at 8 weeks, as I lay there alone in that cold, awful room, so sure I was going to lose you. However, I did feel something equally strong when you were put in my arms, and that was a sense of completion. Your birth made us a whole family.

Your brother came to see you for the first time in the hospital. While he didn't like the idea of you, he was charmed by the reality of you. And you gave him Edward, the engine he'd coveted from the Thomas the Tank Engine set, so you were possibly rather cool. All was well, and your father and I feel exceptionally fortunate that, normal sibling squabbling aside, you and your brother seem to genuinely like each other.

You came running out of your bedroom this morning after we'd already gathered in the kitchen, and you threw yourself at your father when you saw the REI bag sitting at your place. Rope, a first aid kit, a compass, a tiny camera, an American Girl t-shirt, though no Swiss Army knife (the complexity of your desires--a girly t-shirt and a Swiss Army knife--bemuses me, little survivalist. But as we noted earlier this week, not so different from your mommy who buys a constellation of eye shadow and five minutes later, a lawnmower).

I tease you about it, but I am happy that you still want to sit on my lap in the morning, warm and sleepy from your bed. Eleven years has passed too quickly, and I know that you are mine only for a limited time.

Go listen to some good music: "Your Song" from the album Elton John by Elton John.

No comments: