It will be my 45th birthday on Friday. I am looking forward to this one. I know many women stop counting their age at 28 or 30, but not me. I relish the fact that I am getting older. I am wiser than I was when I was 28. At 28 I was still trying to figure out what it meant to be an adult, a wife and a mother. At 45 I understand those things. I appreciate them. When I was a little girl my mother use to tell me my birth story. But before she got to me, she would tell me the birth story of my 3 older siblings, then me, and then my youngest sister.
I don’t think she told these stories to my siblings. The stories were told when I was suppose to be laying down for a nap, and she would climb into the bed with me. I would ask for her to recount the stories to me. Her voice created a blanket of warmth and love. Every time she recounted our births, I knew we were wanted and loved, regardless of whatever else was going on in the house. Our household was not always full of warm fuzzy memories. There were fights, physical and verbal. There was anger. And while I remember those violent acts, I also remember the loving ones. It is those memories I cling to and go to when I want to reassure myself of my place in this world. I remember my birth story.
My mother went into labor, and the hospital was in the next town over in Geneseo. My father, a very calm and collected man in every situation, flew down the road with my mother in the seat next to him. Now between Cambridge and Geneseo, there are a lot of hills, and my mother would float out of the seat while my dad was praying for a police car to catch him speeding. Once at the hospital, my mother went right into the delivery room, in her clothes, and there I was. The doctor barely arrived in time for my birth. My mother told me I wanted to be born into the world right NOW!! I was a happy baby and my Grandma DeKezel swore I smiled at her when she saw me for the first time through the glass partition. My mother would tell me how I always woke up happy, even in wet diapers.
Most importantly, I was told I was wanted, and I was loved. In fact I was told each of us was wanted and loved. What a great gift my mother gave me. It is probably those nap time stories that allowed me to forgive her. I saw my mother’s rage. I felt her abandonment when I became pregnant and wasn’t married. But in the bottom of my heart remained the fact that I was her daughter. I was wanted. I was loved.
Those stories … those close times of intimacy, gave me the ability to see past her faults. I was able to cling to my nap time as a child and make it out of the quagmire of anger and hate. So I ask myself, what am I doing to create the same intimacy for my children? Have I created a space in their heart to forgive me for my mistakes as a parent? Have I learned from my mother and told those birth stories to my children?
I have, but I still need to remind them:
I want you.
I love you.
You are still my child.