Rock on with your bad birthday self, Ms. Beatrice.
Oh, but what an elevating journey it's been with baby in year one! Three years ago we never would've imagined the delicate and delectable little creature we created.
Three years ago we didn't want no destructive or detestable little creatures; they were lovely in other peoples yards, like lawn gnomes that moved and broke stuff at night.
Last night one year ago at 7:08 p.m., Beatrice came into the world with a bang. Or more like a pop since her arm was stuck over her head preventing her from passing Mama's pubic bone and being born at home. Twenty-four hours before that we were watching the primetime Emmys.
I remember chaos, staying up all night, Mama exhausted, rushing her to the hospital, broken birthing equipment and blood. Scary and surreal. In fact so surreal that I couldn't quite grasp being paralyzed; I knew nothing else but elevating my presence for Amy. We had no previous experience with anything remotely close, no other life preservers but each other, clinging fast our hands with Amy on the table and me standing above her prior to Bea's arrival. Out in the world our friends and families prayed.
Then, a floppy baby crying with a torpedo head being cleaned up, weighed and measured.
Last month one of my favorite writers and musicians, Neil Peart, recently had a baby girl (he's 57 - and I thought I was an older daddy!). He wrote a wonderful essay about the final months of his wife's pregnancy, baby hummingbirds in the backyard, and the fear of what could go wrong considering he lost his first wife and daughter 12 years earlier.
Oh, how I felt this way growing up:
When I was a boy of six or seven, I remember fervently believing that I could prevent bad things from happening if I worried about them enough. Now I recognize that atavistic urge as a primitive kind of prayer, and I was still superstitious enough then to believe in magical thinking. Hoping to escape being found out in a lie, or punished for something I had accidentally broken, I would worry about it long and hard. If, despite all that prayer, my crime were discovered, I would decide that I had simply not worried enough. All unknowing, I had invented my own little religion, the Church of Worry, and it worked the same as all the others: If something bad happens, it’s your fault for not having prayed enough.
This time, I guess I must have prayed enough—so far, at least. On August 12, 2009, Olivia Louise Peart hatched into the world.
Amen, Neil. We celebrated Bea's first birthday with my parents a few weeks ago and then had a big shindig this past weekend with friends and family.
What a beautiful daughter we have.
The Church of Worry takes a heavy tithing toll, and if I've learned anything from the first year with baby, I've learned that with magical thinking we make what is meant to Bea.
Always. Even if she forces plastic geometric shapes into my mouth.
Happy Birthday Baby!