I remember on my 21st birthday (not the party, the actual birthday) my grandparents and aunt came for lunch and each of them told the stories of what they’d been doing the day I was born. The reactions, the mundane tasks. My parents had thought I would be a boy (they hadn’t asked the doctor but both suspected for some reason) so when I was a girl my dad ran out and got me a pink dress. My aunt told my brother about me, my mother was relieved that she’d changed her mind about my name (I’m pretty sure I was gripping the sides of the birth canal until she changed her mind) and so on.
So while I was attempting to stumble along the treadmill last night (darned festive season got me again) I thought about what I could tell little A when she gets old enough to ask about the day she came along.
Do I tell her:
- I was so nervous all day my brain was mush and I was useless until I went home, where I read Steven King’s Dark Tower series until I ran out of books.
- I got the message before my mother and she got all offended.
- I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until I’d been given the all clear (people have to be informed in a certain order to avoid offense and stuff, and leaking something before time can mess up a carefully constructed social network)
- I broke the security boom at the hospital. Well not broke as much as I was the one that pushed the button as it began beeping long screeches and not going up. I got to park in visiting doctors parking for free!
- After all that stress I forgot the word for ‘maternity ward’ and went to the front desk where I demanded that the young man on duty ‘show me the babies’ – he was somewhat alarmed, but did help me once I explained that my brother had just given birth and that I had to go and see him. In retrospect I’m still surprised that he didn’t casually misdirect me to the local psychiatrist for a straight-jacket fitting.
- That that little girl is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and my brother and his wife just… fit. They’re the right parents for her, and she’s just completely and absolutely perfect.