Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Make a Wish, Baby

Years ago, my parents had a few super 8 movies made into VHS tapes (which now need to be DVDs...when will it end?). In one, I am a tiny infant in the arms of my dad, who is impossibly young looking, on the brink of becoming the sure-footed dad I know, but for that moment still just a guy in his 20s whose wife just had a baby. The footage is set to "Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder, which as a result sticks in my head (yes, I know it's schmaltzy) whenever I try to imagine what it must have been like for my parents when I was born, 32 years ago today.

The tape is hard for me to think about right now. My young dad with a baby in his arms, the beginning of a new family, the hopefulness and anxieties of all new parents, since the beginning of time, suspended in the air of those first moments. Me, so vulnerable and unmarred by anything that lay ahead. I want to tell that girl some things. Want to give her fair warning and see if I can remove some of the shock and sting. I want to tell her that it -- life -- sometimes isn't anywhere near what you thought it would be. You will wake up on your 32nd birthday and notice that the kids you'd imagined are missing and your fridge is stocked with injectible FSH.

But sometimes, the gap between what you thought and what turns out is okay. Sometimes there is this unanticipated joy in the discovery of what actually happens. My birthday is tied with Christmas as my favorite day of the year. I am absolutely obnoxious in my excitement over it. When my husband told me he wouldn't be here, I felt this deep disappointment. I immediately pictured myself alone, in tears, still grieving over my negative pregnancy test. Here's what happened instead: My friend, the kind of friend who is family without the baggage, took me out on the town. We shopped. We stuffed ourselves with cheeseburgers and laughed out loud. I couldn't have felt less alone.

And I even had a little birthday party earlier in the day at work. All told I had two desserts today (low carb diet be damned), two candles to blow out. I'll give you two guesses what I wished for.


Anonymous said...

You should have told me and we could have started celebrating on Tuesday night!! Anyway, I am glad that you had a great birthday-- I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year for you and that you will spend 33 with either a baby in your arms or a bun firmly in your oven. And now you have a chance to extend your birthday until your husband gets home! Party on!

R.E.S. said...

As your friend who is like family without the baggage (awww), I second eggdance. I also think of that image of your dad, and I wonder if he had any idea how lucky he was, not just to have a child, but to have THIS child - who would blossom into a wonderful person, friend, and, yes, mother. (I will use my birthday wish for that, too.)

patricia dolan said...

I just found your blog. Wishing you a beautiful and victorious year.