Some birthday thoughts

Wow. A baby. You made a baby, and now here he is, all soft and cuddly and so precious, and you are his mama. You still can’t quite believe it. Your baby is here! This one is yours, you are his, you are irrevocably his. And you can’t imagine him any other way. You can’t see him as a five year old, trotting off to school; you can’t imagine him at 15, towering over you. Won’t he always be a baby, right here right now? His dependence and his love so complete, so terrifying, so affirming.

You remember your birthday last year, five days after the two lines on the test. You had breakfast with a friend visiting from out of town, the two of you talked about plans for study overseas, your recent holiday in China, the engagement party you would both be attending on the weekend, a mutual friend who won a Fulbright and would shortly be taking it up. You didn’t let slip that all your overseas study plans would be put on hold.

You also talked briefly about Jacob, another mutual friend, who happened to have the same birthday. Universally liked, conscientious, unfailingly courteous, quick to smile, such a good heart. He was gone, and your little boy – David Jacob, for his great-grandfather and his parents’ old friend – was just starting to grow in you belly. Life unfurls in its precarious, unknowable way.

Next year your little lad will be a whole new baby. A walking baby, maybe a baby with a sentence or two. You can’t imagine that. Since he was born, the future is slippery and you can’t grasp it. Life just is, and life meanders along, and we get caught up in it. Life just is, and this moment exists suspended in time forever.

Happy birthday.

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