My cold is breaking. Now I am just hacking like a one-woman TB ward, but at least I feel better. Except when I blow my nose & accidentally blow out my ears and feel dizzy and deaf for a few minutes. Other than that, I'm great.
In the massiveness of the new year, tax season, and my bad cold, I forgot to mention my oldest's son's birthday. Poor thing, it's like this every year. It's just after Christmas, so everyone is tired and broke. It's the beginning of the semester, beginning of the tax season, beginning of everything, and we miss the beginning of Robert's life.
Robert was born 23 years ago on January 10.
Thursday, January 9th, Bob and I were at the Family Mart with a couple of weeks worth of groceries. The grocery clerk was either sick, slow, or very conscientious. I remember she did a price check on just about every other item. Just as the last box of cereal slid through, I felt a trickle down my legs. It wasn't a gush, like I'd come to expect from old movies and older wives. I knew what it was like to pee on myself --- I'd done that enough. This was different.
I stepped away. Bob glanced at me nervously as he wrote the check for the groceries. I smiled weakly. The clerk asked for his ID. He gave her his driver's license, but she wanted more. He searched his wallet for another ID. She called the manager. I shifted from foot to foot, discretely (or not so much) patting my skirt to see if it was wet. Finally, we buy our damn groceries.
When we get to the car and start putting the bags in the car, I tell Bob my water has broken. He wants to drive to the hospital. I insist we go home, put away groceries and call the doctor.
We go to the hospital. Bob calls our parents. My mother & my sister go to a candlelight vigil for a young man who will be executed the next morning... or was it midnight? I think, Jesus, take his poor soul and don't send it into my baby. OK, that was selfish, but what would you do in my position?
My water has broken, but I don't go into labor. Friday morning, I begin taking god-awful medication to induce labor. Robert was born just before the doctor would have performed a C-section to prevent infection or whatever. I heard them talking about it and demanded a C-section right there and then. They laugh at me. Apparently, they are used to this kind of thing, but I still think I should send them flowers afterwards.
Robert was a wonderful baby, but very demanding. He wanted to be held, he wanted to be looked at, he wanted to be with the tall people. In many ways, his son Brendon is like that too. I smile.
Robert is now a man with a wife and two sons. He is finding his feet, being a man, being a good man. I have no doubt that he will weather these hard times we all share, but which are hardest on the young. I see his strength, his kindness, and somewhere somehow, his wisdom.
Happy Birthday Robert: late but heartfelt.
(And I never did go back to that Family Mart.)