So today, my girl turns 26, her father, 52. Not only were these two born on the same day, they were also born in the same hour, 1 am. How well I remember how furious I was, when at 1100 pm, the night before his birthday, with me in the throes of active labor, my husband, flush with excitement, sealed his fate by grabbing my hand and exclaiming, “you can hold on, you can do it, just one more hour.” Pulling my hand free, and waving him away, with an angry expression was all I could manage at the time, but I have since mentioned several times, how annoyed I was and if I think about too much, still am. But, “hold on” I did, and although I really didn’t have much say in the matter, I’m happy that it worked out that way. And how fitting, as these two are very much alike in temperament, which has led to many arguments, tears, stomping of feet and slamming of doors, especially in her preteen years. It has also necessitated a still standing family rule that these two never sit side by side in any place that one cannot just simply move away, such as church, airplanes or movie theaters. In these cases, her brother or I sit between them to avoid potential squabbles.
Also fitting, that she was born on the same day that hurricane Bob whipped through central Maine. I wasn’t aware of what was going on in the outside world, my main concern was that when the power went out in the hospital, I was stuck with the head of my bed up in the air, trying to learn how to nurse (which although natural, does not come naturally and is not nearly as easy as it looks, at least at first), in almost complete darkness and stationed with three other moms in a birthing suite. I think they did away with this room the year after she was born, in fact looking back, it’s incredible that they would house us all together even in 1991. Anyway, the other two moms were fine, both about twice my age, as I was a teen mom at 19, but the other new mom beside me, let it be known in no uncertain terms that she had no intention of feeding her baby, because that’s what the nurses were there for, while she groused about the food and was truly angry that she was not allowed to smoke in her room. Needless to say, I was quite ready to take my baby home and begin a lifetime of motherhood, my favorite job and the one I am most proud of.
My husband, for his part, gallantly gave up his birthday, for most of her childhood. His, was pretty much forgotten with the exception of our daughter’s one request for “peas for dad” tacked on to whatever she had chosen for her birthday meal that year, usually tacos. He doesn’t especially like peas, and so, this was another consession he made, not only eating them heartily, but thanking her profusely for remembering how much he “loves them.” Oh, the things we do for our children!! Anyway, If you are a very observant reader, you may have noticed that my husband, would have been 26 at the time of her birth, so that is cool. I’m not really into numbers or their meanings, but it does seem sort of significant that she will be the same age today as he was when she was born. However, I did not wake up at 0100 hours to celebrate. Actually, we have already celebrated with our traditional “guns and cake” party. “What the…??” you probably are thinking. Simply put, we all go out as a family to a nearby sandpit, put up targets and watermelons, and shoot them with several different sorts of guns, then we go home and sing happy birthday and eat cake. Strange tradition? Not if you live in Maine. And for my international friends, this probably sounds like a bizarre way to celebrate a day of birth, and it also may lend some credence to the American Wild West stereotype. It is true, it is a tad bit weird but its a lot of fun, don’t knock it until you try it! We will get together at some point today, there is talk of going out, the birthday twins may go get a few drinks, while I tag along to drive and prepare to referee any potential quarrels that break out. But, that won’t happen today. These two, although at times, hot heads, also love each other dearly. They are both loyal, generous, and hard-working. I’m so grateful for them and for the excitement and yes, sometimes even destruction, that swirls around them, not unlike the hurricane winds that ushered our girl in and made us a family. Happy birthday loves. XOXO