A Birthday Embrace

As I have said before, I enjoy celebrating birthdays. Whether observing my own (which happens to be tomorrow) or those of friends and family, a birthday represents so many different things.

From the moment we enter this world, that date serves to remind us of important milestones. From the one-year-old birthday party all the way to a sweet sixteen, each shows us how far we’ve come.

The celebration itself doesn’t have to be elaborate. A favorite meal and cake of your choice are nice. A simple way of saying, “Today is your day. You get to choose.” This was often the practice for me as a child. And it continued for my own children.

Singing is also a must. Hearing friends and family crooning in unison, “Happy birthday to you,” never gets old. Followed by making a wish and blowing out the candles, of course.

Celebrating my own birthday also reminds me that I am getting older. I have some new aches and pains. I see new wrinkles when looking in the mirror. But that reflection shows so much more.

Hopefully, it is a reflection that shows growth. A growth that encourages me to push through the aches and pains and look past the wrinkles.

https://pianogirlthoughts.com/2018/06/14/birthdays/

Thanks for celebrating with me as I gracefully embrace my next over-half-a-century birthday. ❤

Well, my plan is for it to be a graceful embrace anyway. 😉

Presents of Presence

My birthday is rapidly approaching. It falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving this year. My oldest son, Robert, was born on my 27th birthday. This year, he turns 25 and I turn 52. I am always happy when we can celebrate together.

Robert called yesterday about last-minute Thanksgiving plans. He also asked what I wanted for my birthday. I really could not think of anything. “Since we will be together for Thanksgiving, I thought we could celebrate,” he said.

Later in the evening, I told my husband about our chat. He quickly responded, “Did you tell him his and Erin’s presence here for Thanksgiving was enough?” No, I had not thought to say that.

Reflecting on those conversations caused me to consider the idea of presents. My thoughts quickly turned to presence. The older I get, the more I realize the preciousness of someone’s presence in my life.

The occasions when all my kids and soon-to-be daughter-n-law are together, sharing the same space and time? Those are the times I am truly filled with joy and contentment. Instances when I share space and time with my parents? Feelings are the same.

I could go on and on. The presence of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends remind me how quickly time passes. And time spent with them, even when brief, is a gift.

Just this morning, my daughter was reviewing our plans for the next few days. Thanksgiving dinner, birthday lunch with a friend for me, a movie outing for her. Then she smiled and said, “Don’t make any plans for Sunday.” I don’t know what she has planned, but I know it involves her presence.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Our home will be filled with good food and laughter. But more importantly, it will be filled with presents. Not ones which require unwrapping, ones which allow embraces.

Embraces which say:

I love you
I've missed you
I'm so glad you're here
Your presence is the best present I could ever receive

The Rest of the Story

I have already shared events surrounding the birth of our first child, Robert, in two separate blog posts-Thankful and The Struggle for Control.  You would certainly think those events provided enough excitement for one pregnancy…but that was before he actually arrived.

One month had passed since our car accident.  My cracked ribs were beginning to heal, and I was ready to meet our baby boy.  Despite reassurances from the doctors that he was fine, my worry would not completely disappear until we actually saw him.  So a date to induce labor was set.

Gart and I arrived at the hospital early on December 1, 1994.  All checked in, the process began.  Doctors, nurses, monitors, IV…contractions. He would most likely arrive sometime before midnight.  That’s what they thought-but they thought wrong. Midnight came and went.  I was in active labor, but something wasn’t right.  Of course, this was our first baby, so what did we know?!

At some point during the late night/early morning, the doctor came in and things changed quickly.  Apparently, she should have been called much earlier.  Once she arrived, the whole room transformed. Suddenly it was full of additional medical personnel-a neonatology team, nurses.  Lighting in the room was adjusted, and the mood became extremely serious.

My mom and mother-n-law had been with us through the entire labor process.  But as the room began to transform, they were asked to wait out in the hall.  So they did.

We often see childbirth portrayed as an intense experience followed by this beautiful first moment.   A pink, crying baby is handed to the new mom.  She’s crying and the strong, supportive dad is leaning over-everyone is smiling and eternally happy.  Photos capture the moment, assuring it will never be forgotten.

When Robert was finally born, I can remember waiting…waiting to hear him cry.   Doctors and nurses were busy doing their jobs and there was nothing we could do but wait.  There was a flurry of activity and none of it sounded good. It felt like an eternity.  Then finally, a cry.  The sweetest, tiniest little cry.

A nurse brought him over so we could see him-not hold him-only for a few seconds.  He was pale, almost translucent, but that sweet face.  I can close my eyes right now and still see that face.  There are no pictures from that moment. Time and the seriousness of the situation did not allow for pictures.  Just as quickly as we’d seen him, he was whisked out of the room.  Gart followed.

Our moms, still waiting in the hall,  did not know what was happening. They’d witnessed the influx of medical personnel and their quick exit with the baby, Gart following close behind.  He was stopped at the nursery.  The blinds were closed.  Now he had no idea what was happening with our sweet boy.

Returning to the delivery room to check on me, he was once again stopped at the door.  I had suffered third-degree trauma, and the doctor was with me.  Poor Gart, it’s a miracle we ended up having two more children.

Finally, I was in a room.  Family there.  Waiting to see Robert.  Four hours later, we held him for the first time.  An IV had been placed in the top of his little head.  He had lost a lot of fluid during the trauma of his birth but was going to be ok.  Once again, we were thankful.

There were birthday gifts and cake later that day in the hospital room.  Because not only was December 2, 1994, the birthdate of our son, Robert, it was also my twenty-seventh birthday.  A birthday I will never forget!

I think I can safely say that is the rest of the story.  At least for today!

 

Twenty-One Today

Twenty-one today, how can that be?

Seems only yesterday, you were just three

Bossy at times, so sassy and sweet

A perfect description, your Dad would agree

 

Today all grown up-compassionate and strong

Advocating for special needs, desiring all to belong

Embracing the future, choosing hope in the world you see

A beautiful young woman standing in front of me

 

Today I remember your blue eyes and curls

Treasuring sweet times with my sassy little girl

Remembering the past but not lingering too long

Learning from you what it means to be strong

 

Letting go while holding on is where I find myself

Cherishing the pictures which sit on my shelf

So thankful I’m your mom and you’re my sweet girl

Happy Birthday, Dear Rachel!  Today is all yours!

 

 

 

Photographs and Memories

I love photographs. They represent moments in time, ranging from silly to significant. Possessing the power to take us back, these images flood our minds with a cascade of thoughts and memories.

That is true of this photo. Pictured are the three amazing individuals who call me mom.  As a surprise for my 50th birthday, they secretly learned my favorite James Taylor song, Like Everyone She Knows. The picture was taken right after their living room performance, a moment which begged to be captured.

My husband introduced me to the song when we were dating, over twenty-five years ago.  There was an immediate connection, and I continue to listen often.  The line “hold tight to your heart’s desire” always seems to be speaking directly to my soul.

Now I not only have memories connected to the song, I also have this precious photograph.  A reminder of my sweet kids and their thoughtful gift.

A perfect moment in time…

kids song

 

 

 

Birthdays

We love to celebrate birthdays in our family.  The celebration may not always include a huge party.  Cake, candles, ice cream, and presents, however, are guaranteed!  Although we see birthdays as a time to celebrate, they also serve as a time for reflection.

This past December I celebrated my 50th birthday…50 years!  That sounds like such a long time, tho it doesn’t necessarily feel that way.   Truth is, the passing of time seems to increase in speed with each year.  I have found this particularly true during the high school and college years of my children.  On many occasions I’ve been know to say, “Time is flying by, and I’m hanging on for dear life to its coattails!”

With this passing of time comes reflection.  How have I grown as a person?  Have I made progress in some area?  What about my life has changed?  Searching for answers to these questions often brings blurry pictures, making me uncertain of my growth.  But I’m discovering that writing down my thoughts sometimes offers clarity.  As my mom recently said, “Things do look different when put on paper.”  Words of wisdom.

As I was preparing myself for my 50th birthday, and believe me it took a lot of mental preparation,  I wrote the following poem.  Hope you enjoy!

 Reflections
  
 Yesterday I looked in the mirror
 Life out in front
 Bright Eyes
 Questions
 Dreams
 Today I looked in the mirror
 Half of life behind
 Laugh lines
 Experiences
 Hopes
 Tomorrow I will look in the mirror again
 Where did life go?
 Gray hair
 Memories
 Peace