Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fifteen Years Later - Baby no More!

September 13 - fifteen years ago today, I gave birth to Emma, my one and only child. In many ways it seems like yesterday, but it also seems like a long time ago. If I close my eyes, I can see the hospital room, the nurses, coming and going, hear the music that was playing (the soundtrack to Out of Africa - it was the only music that would soothe me through my 10 hours of labour) , I can recreate the entire day. It was a day that only happened once in my life and will never happen again. The most important day of my life. Nothing has changed my life more than being a mother. I was 36 when she was born, a bit late in life for sure, but not too late. By 36, I was a bit set in my ways in terms of how I functioned day to day. Life was neat, tidy, predictable, scheduled, just like the phases of the moon. In retrospect, it was also a bit boring. Nice, but boring. I definitely felt like something was missing. It was her. From the moment she came home, boring left my vocabulary. It left my life. Oh sure, some days, the monotony of diaper changing and feeding and just trying to maintain some semblance of order would get to me, but something would always happen to jolt me out of the tedium of those tasks. Mainly it was moments when my heart would be so full of love for her, I was certain it would burst. On the other hand, it would be moments of worry. Worry about her development, her safety, her social life, her boo boo's. I used to wonder how parents of more than one child managed to cope. I still do. She was the one child I always wanted and she was enough. Maybe it was my age. Maybe it was fate. I just knew that she was it for me, for us. And it still is. I still worry some times about her being alone once we're gone, with no brothers or sisters to rely upon, to call, to reminisce with. But I remind myself that not all siblings grow old together, some don't even see each other or speak to each other and there is no guarantee that having one will see you through to the end. She has many advantages being a singleton. Advantages she is well aware of and is grateful for. Over the years, I have asked her if she wishes she had a brother or sister and her answer has been consistently - no. She enjoys her elevated status within our small family and has always told me she is disturbed by a lot of noise and chaos, something she rarely experiences here in our home. When she spends time with friends who live that way, she is always glad to come home to her space, her peace and quiet. I believe in fate, and I don't think a large family would have suited her personality, so perhaps this was meant to be. In a few short years, she will be leaving this house and the comfort and seclusion she has always cherished. I hope she will be ready. I think it would be good for her to experience a little noise and chaos. I even hope she ends up with someone who has a large family so she can see what that is like. In a very short while, we are heading to her favourite restaurant for dinner and then home for a very small birthday cake with two candles - a one and a five, the same ones we used in the opposite direction for my last birthday. She had her real party last night with her friends, the days of pool parties and loot bags far behind her now. Her birthdays used to be extravaganzas with Britney Spears or Barbie impersonators, or amusement park outings for the whole gang. I can honestly say I don't miss those events. It required much effort and planning on my part and after her 12th, we toned things down a bit as she requested. Whew! What a relief that was! So the last three years have been far less work for me, but I sense that Sweet Sixteen may require Mom to get creative once more. So, Happy Birthday baby - you are my best cause for celebration.

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