Friday, January 26, 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday

The Child woke up at 6am. Color her excited.

At this moment, 13 years ago, I was in the home stretch, birthing-wise. It had been a particularly uneventful birth. It actually wasn't that bad. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a fan of pain. But the contractions weren't that horrible, probably because I had expected them to be so much worse. And the thing I didn't realize about contractions is that when you're not actually having one, you feel just fine.

We'd had a good time. Our labor nurse, Ina, told us that she'd never laughed so much during a delivery in her entire career. The Spouse was doing Monty Python bits ("And this is the machine that goes, 'ping'"), my best friend Lorene was there in doula mode, we were cracking jokes, listening to music and ocassionally I'd stop, writhe with pain, and then we'd get back to cracking more jokes. Plus, I got a dose of some nice little narcotic about halfway through, to take the edge off. After it had run its course, they put me in a jacuzzi tub. What's not to like about that?

The hard part was the actual pushing. Not the most fun I'd ever had. But that only lasted about an hour and then, accompanied by the Grateful Dead playing in the background, Miss Thing made her entrance. And she was beautiful.

She was 10 days post dates. That should have been a sign. She likes to do things at her own pace, in her own way. And she wasn't coming out until she was damn good and ready. They cleaned her up and put her in my arms. She wasn't crying. She had one teeny tiny hand on her face, a contemplative gesture, and looked right into my eyes with an expression that said, "Oh. So you're my mom, huh?" She didn't seem impressed. And I knew right there, in that moment, come what may, she was her own person and she would have her own mind about things.

Boy, was I right.

It is a very big deal to her that she is 13. It is a very big deal to me. I've been paying pretty close attention for 13 years but I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that it's actually been that long, that she's a teenager for heaven's sake and yeah, legally, we only have to take care of her for 5 more years. I've been here all this time and I still don't get how that tiny baby with the chubby chubby cheeks and a dearth of hair turned into this tall, lean, beautiful creature capable of cogent thought (sometimes), full of promise and well on her way to adulthood.

Of course, the thing about being a mother is that the kids may grow up, but you are a mom for life. I once heard my 80 or 90 something grandmother remind my mother to wipe her feet when she came in from the garden. Hello? By that time Dame Judi was a grandmother in her own right. I heard Grandma say that, looked at Mum and said, "You're never not a mom, are you?"

She smiled and said, "Nope".

I didn't have a kid at the time but it prepared me. They go into your heart, those little devils, and even when sometimes you want to ship them off to boarding school, you love them like no one else on the planet. And usually, it takes them becoming a parent themselves to realize the depth of that love. Which is as it should be.

So here we are, officially in Teendom.

Suddenly, I need a drink.

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Blogger Citymouse opined...

Happy bday to her and welcome to the club! I'll buy!

January 26, 2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Thanks, CM. Order me a cosmo...I'll be right there. And it helps a lot knowing that there are brilliant moms like you out there lighting the way for the likes o' me. It takes a village...for the parents, too!

January 26, 2007 10:46 AM  
Blogger Evangeline opined...

I just wanted to add my bit for the wisdom box, something that helped me when I was her age and has stuck with me over the years:
Walk away from gossip. It's an ugly little habit that sneaks up on you if you entertain it in others.

January 26, 2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric opined...

Drink up. Anyone who goes through the birthing of a child deserves much to drink. I can't even imagine ... (and lucky me; I don't have to).

January 26, 2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger JessnBekahsmom opined...

Lorraine and Lorene? Am I the only one that finds that amusing?

Happy bday to The Child. We wish her well!

January 26, 2007 11:50 AM  
Blogger Nicole opined...

I haven't been blogging this week so I've missed all this but please do remind here of what I told her on her 3rd birthday (I think it was 3). That she has to talk to me BEFORE getting a credit card and BEFORE she has sex.

January 26, 2007 12:49 PM  
Blogger Kendall opined...

Beautiful post. Not only congrats to the child on her birthday, but congrats to mom for making it this far!

January 26, 2007 1:01 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Thanks, Auntie have been included with all the other wise ones.

Thank you, Red, I'll have another please.

J& gets better than that...we gave our daughters each other's name for middle names.

Nicole, Duly noted. I was remembering that party just the other day.

I'll pass on your greetings to her. And thanks.

January 26, 2007 5:42 PM  
Blogger gina opined...

Please pass along my birthday congrats to The Child. My only words of wisdom - "boys at this age are idiots. Don't let it bother when one you like acts like he doesn't like you back. They have no idea what they want, or what they like. Don't let them break your heart."

Maybe she's too young for that just yet, but at her age, I was horribly boy crazy, and had my heart broken over and over, until I figured out they were just as insecure and scared as I was. I think that was at about age 35. :)

Happy 13th, Child! I got my ears pierced for my 13th. By my dad. It was a HUGE deal.

January 26, 2007 6:29 PM  
Blogger Grish opined...

Happy B-day to the child ..err.. young lady...:-)

January 26, 2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Iwanski opined...

Happy 13th to the artist formerly known as "The Child" (now "The Teen")

January 26, 2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Happy birthday to the Teen!
Now get a job.. ;)

January 26, 2007 7:53 PM  
Blogger Diane S. opined...

Lorraine, this was really beautiful. A wonderful tribute to motherhood, and also proof that you are a great mom.

Happy Birthday to the Child who is no longer a Child. The next couple of years may be a bit bumpy, but she'll turn out fine.

How do I know? She has you for a mom.

January 27, 2007 8:22 PM  
Blogger Pamelamama opined...

Send her our love! Does she have this book:
Cycle Savvy

hope that html thingy worked.

If not, I will send for her b-day. I love the author but I haven't read the book yet.

Love Love Love!

January 27, 2007 8:54 PM  
Blogger Dariush Alavi opined...

Thanks for that post: just the ticket for a grey Sunday afternoon.

Happy birthday to your daughter. And yes, I'm sure parents never stop being parents. By the same token, children never stop being children... and as we're ALL somebody's children, I guess that means some part of all of us will remain a child for ever.

January 28, 2007 5:33 AM  

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