I look at birthdays as a good time for memories, because when your children are adults and they live far away, your memories are mostly what you have.
These are mine.
On the left, I am posing at my baby shower at work toward the end of my pregnancy.
First of all, try not to focus on the ensemble. I am not responsible for that. There were not a lot of fashion choices for pregnant women in the 80's. However, I will have to take total responsibility for the glasses and the hair.
I don't mind how I look in the picture (above) with my son because I swear, I lost 30 pounds right after he was born.
The day of my son's birth, I worked a full eight hour day. I had to. My husband was in school, didn't have a job and I was the sole source of income and we had just bought a house. I can remember worrying every time I went to the doctor that something would be wrong, and he would say I had to stay home. I had worked out my vacation and sick leave to the day, so that I had just enough to allow me to take off six weeks but that meant I had to go all the way to my due date. That's the way it was then. Employers did not make allowances for career-minded pregnant women.
So there I was on my due date standing at the card catalog in the library (remember those?) filing away and at 5pm off I went home and that night, off I went into labor. I was 32.
Despite being married more than once, I was able to avoid having a child. I had decided I didn't want children. I masked it in not wanting to bring more children into the world, but it was really that I was terrified of giving birth. When I was 12, I used to babysit for a doctor, and I was a nosy little 12-year-old. They had books with pictures of actual births. Ew. And then when I was even younger, my older brother used to torment me by calling me into his room to show me pictures of mammary glands in his biology book - "Hey, Rosy, guess what THIS is! Hahahaha!" He also told my young impressionable self that giving birth was like taking your lower lip and pulling it up over your head. How he knew this, I am not sure.
However, when I was ready to give birth I was happy about it. I had come to grips with my childhood fears.
I was just coming out of the 70's, so naturally I read all of the books about birthing in a bathtub, having a midwife, being hypnotized...so I wanted to have a natural birth in a birthing room. Today those are commonplace, but back then, the only birthing room available was at the county hospital with a resident in attendance (full-fledged doctors supposedly didn't want to invest the time needed to attend a natural birth at a birthing center). Today there are hospital beds that turn into birthing beds. Back then, for me, it was a room with a real double bed. And a boom box playing music. All the comforts of home. But wouldn't you know, during the worst part of the birth, I distinctly remember hearing Diana Ross singing, "Upside Down," which has lyrics like:
And round and round
Boy, you turn me
And round and round
and I thought, my god, my brother was right.
At six weeks, I had to go back to work and take my baby boy to daycare.
Can you imagine turning that little guy over to virtual strangers?
We did not have the money for nannies or babysitters who came to the house. In those days, you found licensed day care people who would take infants and finding good daycare then was as difficult as it is now, if not more difficult. But my husband (not to be confused with Hubby) didn't have a job, and I was putting him through college. That was the deal we struck, one where I didn't really understand the ramifications. As it turned out, not a good deal for me as my then husband was cheating on me with a fellow student, 19 (I was 32), and it all turned out very badly. When it all came to light, I remember saying I didn't wait until I was 32 to have a child to raise him by myself, but we don't have control over these things, do we?
But I didn't know that yet so in spite of having to work 40 hours per week, I could still enjoy my little guy enjoying his Jolly Jumper (which as with many things was banned later, I think) and when he was done...
And his other little antics.
We celebrated his first birthday and then it all starting going to hell. The husband ran off with the coed and baby and I were on our own. I didn't handle it well.
Long story short, and it's a godawful long godawful story, I set about making a life alone with my little boy.
It was not a happy time.
I found a place to live and things started to mellow out.
I always loved this picture as he as fascinated with the construction across the street from our apartment.
And people! Chill out. I was right there. He was not in the street!
But here are the kinds of things that happen with divorce.
Right after this picture was taken, my little boy went for his weekend with his Dad and his grandmother took him for his FIRST HAIRCUT! No one asked me what I thought and I wasn't there and they cut off all of that beautiful hair without my permission. I have the locks from MY first haircut but not from my own son's.
He also had his life disrupted with the back and forth to his Dad's, such as being whisked away Christmas morning just after he was starting to enjoy his presents from Santa and for long summers.
But things improved.
I had decided he and I would be fine. I felt positive about my future and isn't that the way it often happens? When you aren't looking, your future appears. Hubby-to-be came along when I wasn't looking and when I was contemplating a future on my own with my boy. And when I discovered he loved my boy as much as he loved me, well, it seemed like fate.
We went to visit Grammy and Granddaddy in Michigan. Here he is four. Things are feeling better.
Just as I had to endure, so did my children.
I am talking about that "first day of school picture."
Just as it was with me, every first day of school is recorded for MY children.
Here is the first day of his first grade.
(Wave to Mommy!)
Then all of a sudden it was 3rd Grade.
And everything started going so fast.
And all of this happened.
Well the sports thing was happening before third grade but...
That letter jacket. OMG. He couldn't have cared less, but his proud Mama did.
I wore it to all of his games and I made sure all of his accomplishments were on that jacket: ASB President, MVP, Central Coast Champs, various honors from all four years of three different sports and academics, all of it and when they made a mistake once on the jacket, I paid to have them rip out the writing and do it over!
Some day he will thank me.
He graduated from high school with honors, from college with honors and then
My son the Dahk-tah.
Doctor of Jurisprudence that is.
And then he found the love of his life.
(As in Oz, don't look behind the curtain or rather at the bridesmaid with the beer bottle no longer wearing heels. That's his sister. Weddings can be exhausting).
His parents are delighted.
Because it's all about happiness.
What more can you wish for your children?
That said, despite the fact that our adult children want us to acknowledge them as adults, and we do, we really do, we really try to do, OK sometimes we don't, there is always that part that will think, and he's not going to like this:
He will always be my baby boy.
Happy Birthday, my baby boy!
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