Each year I pen this piece or one similar, I think the same thing ... I need to put this topic to rest. Then- before I know it- I’m faced once again with the task and challenge of the birthdays. Yes, plural, the celebration of birth of both my children 24 hours apart (with three years in between).
In the beginning, not of time, but my very simple yet busy life, I thought this was unique. I still recall my doctor sharing the oddity and uniqueness of my ‘projected’ due dates for both children being on the exact same day … June 22. Again, there is a three-year spread between the two, but as a new mom I must have shared this fact with any and everyone who would listen. Simple trivia amuses me and for some reason I like to think it does others as well.
As my duo grows older, I learn more and more of others faced by this challenge. Whether the birthdays be two weeks, two days or 24 hours apart it is indeed a task of true juggling proportions.
Two years ago, I introduced the ‘less is more’ approach to my duo. Our days of big parties surrounded by friends, family and tons of ‘stuff’ I felt had run its course. Selfishly, I challenged them with the prospect of a day with mommy all to themselves, followed by a sleepover and dinner with a friend of choice.
I’m doing this ‘mom’ thing solo, so having time with each child individually is scarce. Initially, it was an idea borrowed from a lifelong girlfriend who always made a point to have ‘dates’ with each of her three children. Her husband would keep the other two as she would be off on a sailing excursion or high tea with one all to herself. This act for a single mom would call for the expense of a babysitter or yet another favor from a friend or family member – not always easy.
As mommies, we rarely get such opportunities with our littles. They tend to be a package deal. We tend to travel as a cluster or unit and fleeting moments to the grocery store or big box store with one versus all is not exactly the same.
Much to my surprise and delight, both children loved this so much it’s now what we do instead of our once popular and over the top birthday bash.
Some years we invite a close friend or two along for our outing and other times it’s just the two of us. Either way, it’s a very intimate and memorable time I am able to share with my children and them with their mom. There is no noise or abundance in the way of ‘stuff’ and people, we do that plenty at Christmas.
Even as I write this, I can’t help but recognize the symbolism and irony of how this has all worked out. I still recall the hours, days and weeks following the birth of each child. In the wee hours when the world was asleep and it’s just mother and child. The thoughts that would fill my mind, holding these precious little souls, wondering who else was awake other than truck drivers and graveyard shifters.
The truth is, when that child is born often the room is full, doctors, nurses, daddy, friends and grandparents (in some cases). Yet as the mother, we recognize that the birth, the moment the cord is cut we release them to the world.
I still recall the feelings days prior to having my daughter, the thought of being days from sharing her with the world. That’s what parenthood, more specific motherhood really is; it’s sharing. It’s fading when we need to and reappearing in just the right (and sometimes awkward) moments.
So what does all this mean, really?
I honestly have no clue. What I do know is that as much as I would like to stop penning a piece about the not so unique birth of my two children, I recognize I am not alone. As parents, we celebrate, love and care for them. We know what is our job and how we must tend to it. Yet as each year goes by, each calendar year turns we also recognize their independence and growth. We see that time does indeed fly and as they become eager to grow, we search for a way to freeze time.
So, here’s to celebrating births. The one day of each and every 365 where we should truly celebrate the uniqueness of that day for what was brought to the world. For no reason other than it is indeed truly … unique, as is the person being celebrated.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.