It has often been spoken that the birth of a child has been the happiest day of peoples’ lives. The joy of their day may come from seeing the most beautiful thing they have ever seen, their very own child. For me, it could not have been further from the truth. Allow me to describe that day.
It was late June 2006, I was teaching full time at a residential school. I had only been working there for a month and a half, I would often get there early to prepare for the day, the week, a unit. This day was no different. I lived about a 45-minute drive from the school; my day started when I left my house at 5:30. Struggling with the copier that was not jammed, transitioning from class to class with often volatile adolescents, and sweating as the early summer heat pressured all when we walked from the academic building to the dining hall for lunch, and back again.
The school day was over, I gave a few co-workers rides home and walked into my house an hour after I left the small residential school. I announced to mommy we were going to go out to eat at her favorite restaurant! “Zuchinni’s?” she said with glee. “No, we’re broke, Old Country Buffet.” After over-eating terrible food, we returned home, watched a few episodes of re-runs on TV then, at about 11:15 we went upstairs to go to bed. After all, I had been awake for about 18 hours.
I put my head to the pillow and INSTANTLY, “Ummm Hun, I think my water just broke.” “What?” I asked as I walked to the bathroom. Mommy was standing on the bathmat, which was soaked. Yes, her water had broken. Grabbing our “go bag” and driving down the road for about 7 minutes we arrived, to the hospital.
Mommy does not do well with pain, you know this. Sitting next to her, holding her hand, I would begin to doze off with my face uncomfortably resting on the bed rail, just in time for another contraction! Finally, the pain got to her, even though our birthing plan did not include any narcotics, she wanted an epidural injection. Shortly after the injection, mommy insisted, “I really love that guy.” Having had epidural injections for pain relief, I understand what she meant!
With no further delay, 10 hours later, you were born at 11:15 in the morning on the first day of July; 6 pounds 8 ounces, 21 inches, and a full head of curly dark hair, I could not deny you. Spending the next few hours entertaining family and friends who want to come fawn over you. Answering questions, celebrating with all and finally getting some rest as the sun began to set after 8:00; having been awake for more than 39 hours sleeping on a hospital cot was acceptable. Another day in the hospital, as you were tiny, we stayed for observation.
The next day we all went home. Wanting to allow mommy to rest and recover, having epilepsy and a rough time over the past 2 days, I spend the afternoon with you. I played with you, fed you, burped you, changed you, swaddled you and fell asleep with you in my arms while I was reading to you on the couch. The first day I was able to spend with you, just you and it was the happiest day of my life.
I love you more than anything, and I am proud of the young lady you have become.
*****The summer of 2019, while my daughter was at a sleep-away summer camp, I wrote the above message to her on her 13th birthday. I was given permission by her to share this message and the fact that it brought her to tears.*****