My family-themed blogs this year have been dealing with my feelings about my father’s death. They’ve been heart breaking for me; but they’ve been healing.
Today I’m dedicating my blog to another family member — my daughter.
Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the most excruciatingly painful day of my life. Aaarrggghhh. The day I gave birth to my one and only child.
Every year on this day, I force my beloved daughter to relive the agony and the ecstasy of that day, May 20, 1979. It’s only fair, isn’t it, that she should have to be reminded of the horrific pain I endured? Of course it is.
I’ve already emailed, her, recounting that thirty years ago, at this very minute, I realized that the gas pains I experienced seemed to have a rhythm to them — a perfect, every-ten-minute sort of rhythm. I was naïve. I still didn’t make the connection that she was on her way.
I’ll remind her shortly that at 8:00 a.m., I suspected these gas pains might indeed be labor; and that I told her father I was pretty sure the time had come. I assured him we didn’t need an ambulance, and that he didn’t need to run through red lights. He’d seen too many television shows, and I guess he was afraid he’d be forced to deliver our child in the car if he didn’t drive like a bat out of hell to the hospital.
At 9:50 a.m., I’ll recount the story of how I was in the labor room, ready to start the process of earnest delivery. No more playing around with gas pains. No going back. It had begun.
At this point, I’d like to make her feel guilty. I’d love to tell her that I endured hours and hours of horrible pain.
But I can’t.
The truth? Ah. Epidurals. Labor was like a Sunday picnic. I say a ‘Sunday’ picnic, because she was born, relatively quickly, on a Sunday, at precisely 3:56 p.m. I never felt another thing after the wonderful epidural. Oh, sure, I did a lot of pushing and puffing. But felt no pain. This birthing thing was a piece of cake.
Her father had a more difficult time than I. I couldn’t see him behind me, but I did hear the nurse say, “Are you going to faint? Do you need to lie down?” when the doctor pulled out a pair of forceps. Who cared about him? I was busy with two nurses pressing on my belly, pushing like I was a tube of toothpaste.
Now this is the part I love most to tell my daughter every year. The part where the doctor held her up and said, “It’s a girl.” I tell her the same thing every year — every single year for thirty years: that I cried and how my heart burst with love and I thought, “I’m so happy to have a girl.”
8lbs, 12-1/2 ounces of girl. Beautiful, smooth face, thick black hair. Perfect.
Our thirty years as Mother and Daughter have not been a fairy tale. No parent/child relationship is. But never, for one single second have I ever stopped to wish I had it to do over again. Even if I had experienced hours and hours of torturous labor, I still wouldn’t have regretted her.
My daughter. I named her Lyndie Nicole. It translated to ‘beautiful successful young woman.” And she has done her name justice. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is one of the smartest women I know and I admire her.
If the truth were to be told, there have been times in our thirty years that she has been the adult and I have been the child. Times we would be so broke, and yet she would be the one reminding me that at least we had a roof over our heads and a car to drive.
Would that I had been as mature as her.
That’s her. Strong. Optimistic, even in the darkest of times. Everybody is good in her eyes.
So, my daughter, I’m only pretending to dwell on the labor pains of your birth. It’s like they say. You really do forget the pain. Oh, not that our thirty year journey has not had its pains. It has. But, again, I would never change a thing. I have no regrets for deciding to have you. I can’t imagine what my life would be if I didn’t have you.
You are married now; someone else takes care of you. Oh, and I know you take care of him, too, just like you did me. He’s a lucky guy.
I’m lucky, too.
Happy, birthday, my beautiful daughter. Here’s to another thirty years. I love you with all my heart.