Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby No More!

Yesterday my first born turned 26 years old. As I mentioned in an earlier post, her birthday is a memorable milestone for me too. As a mother, you can't help but be transported back to the moment your baby entered this world. I was a young wife of 22 when I first gave birth. Lyndsay was a gift -- I hadn't tried too hard to prevent conceiving, however we certainly hadn't planned it. My husband and I had just been married for 9 months and where living in my one bedroom four storey walk up apartment (on the top floor, of course) when I discovered I was pregnant. We were barely making above minimum wage, we had no where to put a baby and we were battling a new infestation of wildlife -- mice -- after just getting the cockroach problem under control. Definitely no place to raise a baby.

However not even all of that could dampen my unspeakable joy at the sight of the positive pregnancy test. I took pictures of the test, gleefully touting it as my baby's first picture! Within minutes I was on the phone to my parents, sisters and brother to share the monumental news. I could hear the cheers of joy that was echoing around my parent's house as they shared the news as I sat on the other end of the line. I reiterated all of the reasons why I should be concerned ... and my mom sluffed them off. She explained that there was a reason it took nine months to grow a baby -- it provided enough time for the universe to shift, and help us ready for our baby. She enthusiastically reminded me that new life is a gift that should be celebrated and that there is nothing more fulfilling nor important. She encouraged me to enjoy the magical moment and told me that this new baby would bring out the deepest, purest, unconditional love I would experience. When my dad asked me what the due date was, he joked that I was calling when I was only 10 minutes pregnant!

Well, my parents were right. In the following nine months, my husband and I got promotions at work, and we moved to a spacious 2 bedroom (wild life-free) apartment. My daughter was born after a long (23 hour) but uneventful labour. That first glimpse of the baby who had been the tiny occupant of my womb, sharing heartbeats and my body - was the best. I was instantly hit with a tsunami of love, acceptance and the knowing that I would love this little person unconditionally - whatever the circumstances.

My baby was patient as a new mother navigated her way around motherhood, learning how to be a little less selfish. As a baby my daughter was loving, easy going, mellow with a non demanding personality. She was maternal when her sister came along and I remember negotiating time with the new baby (from Lyndsay) as she was convinced that her sister was her baby. Today Lyndsay has retained her maternal outlook with her sisters and cousins -- and yes, even me. She took a little time to figure out her place in the world and now she is enjoying the fruits of her labour. She is an independent, thoughtful woman - who spends a great deal of her time being concerned for the well being of her family - namely her many grandparents.

I am fortunate in that she lives down the street from me and until she gets her drivers’ license, we drive to work together in the morning. Yesterday, just after I dropped her off and continued on to my workplace, I realized I hadn’t wished her a Happy Birthday. Ugh. I made a quick call the moment I got to work, sheepishly apologetic. She laughed it off and reminded me that I did that last year too. Strange. Embarrassing. But I take comfort that this gentle soul with a sometimes crunchy exterior will be in charge of my elder care! She taught me things about myself and we navigated some difficult times together and thankfully – came out the other side in love and respect.
Happy Birthday Baby – my baby who is a baby no more. Just a wonderful woman!

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