The day my sister Lily was born, there were a hundred people at the house and my brother and I ran wild. My mother wore amethyst beads around her neck and a tie-died shirt of Daddy's and nothing else, and though her belly was huge her legs were still the envy of every woman in the world.
When we have birthdays in my family we start out like that. At some point, in the midst of kebab making or sushi rolling or river wandering, someone will say, On the day you were born... and the story will get told. In mine, Hank is entrusted to the care of Aunt Lynn, who wisely braids her long golden hair into two braids the way my mother wore hers, to give him something to hold onto. In Hank's, there is an honest attempt at natural childbirth with only a book and a woman who had given birth before as guides. In the story of Jessie I chime in, carrying the thread of the story to say, And as you slipped from the womb, Anne-Helena got so excited that she pushed my face into her very impressive bosom and I missed the whole thing. Lily's birthday is in two days, but today, today she is in labor with her own child.
I have the flu.
Owen, I will say, On the day you were born, I had the flu. Your Mama went into labor at 5:30 in the morning, and your Uncle Hank called me and woke me up at 8:30 to tell me the good news and to say that he and Aunt Jessie and Auntie Taylor were going to breakfast.
So funny this day. It is beautiful and sunny and warming, there is a hush so far and not too much of a busy. I am very aware of the birth story that is unfolding right now and I am doing my best to make only right actions today. My cat is playing Monster Under The Sheet and I am wrestling with my sore hips and rusty bones, but I am clean and I washed with rose soap.
I called Mama and made sure that Lily is wearing her amethyst beads and she is that makes me cry, I don't know why. I want to be there to look into her eyes and to feed her honey and to rub her feet, but instead I am trying to get my fever down and crying over a lavender necklace.
Mama gave that necklace to me some years ago, probably because I borrowed it so many times. It took me a while to get over my selfish and narcissistic desires, I loved that necklace for it's light catching beauty, for the purple shadow it threw against my collarbone. The winter I first got sober, I gave it to Lily. It was always hers, anyway.
She is wearing it now, and laboring. She has thrown up (which is Wonderful, Mama says) and her contractions are regular, though short. They will be at this all day.
I can not tell you how proud I am of this girl.
On the day Lily was born, I was not afraid, because my Mama was the strongest woman in the world, and I myself was proof she could do it. Now Owen is getting born, and I am not afraid. Lily is the strongest woman in the world, with the biggest heart and the longest legs and the arms made for holding and a well inside her deep and pure. She may have to dip into that well today, deeper than she ever has before, but it will never be empty. Her strength has no bottom.
Owen, on the day you were born, I had the flu. But my every waking thought was you. My every stretch a lean toward you. My very dreams a moving train to you to you to you. And every moment before and after you are born is love for you.
Come on Baby, we are waiting.