Happy Birth Day!

Enter the darkened birthing chamber. Nurses scurry around, a mother wipes her daughter’s brow, step-dad and the doula have cameras at the ready, the baby’s daddy massages and coaches the soon-to-be mom, while she follows the movements springing from her belly with her chant-like breathing.

Relatives and friends have been excited for months, looking forward to the miracle of these moments. There’ve been doctor appointments; scans and sonograms, prenatal vitamins and infant care seminars, parenting and breath classes. Baby showers and contest winnings have provided enormous amounts of baby paraphernalia, now all at the ready for this momentous event.

But the baby’s coming three weeks early from her expected date! Are we sure the carpets don’t need another cleaning? There are still some paper work matters we’d hoped to get handled before this time. The mural in the baby’s room needs a few more butterflies. And for added drama; one of the Grandmas is coming from across the continent. Will she make it in time?

What about this day and place is distinct and different from all others? The desert is exceedingly hot, as expected in August. The Zodiac sign is Virgo, the only one represented by a girl or woman. Qualities are creativity and a communicator. The day is Tuesday, and “Tuesday’s child is full of grace,” as the saying goes. This particular year, 2012, is the ending of a 26,000-year cycle according to the Mayan calendar. It’s a Water Dragon year to the Chinese, one that comes around only every 60 years. This auspicious year is one in which many Chinese couples hope and plan to have a child.

The doctors said this child couldn’t happen, family members though it highly unlikely. But love and longing win out and this child is born. Our family receives with gratitude, this gift, and later we realize that on this particular date, 29 years ago, our mother, (the baby’s great-grandmother) died. The day this child will come home from the hospital is the 13th anniversary of our father’s, (her great-grandfather’s) death.

So every year on this day we family members will celebrate this child, this miracle. Later, friends at school or camp may be served cupcakes on her behalf. Still later, Facebook friends will take the opportunity, on this day, to post good wishes, reminding this toddler, this child, this girl, this woman, “You were so deeply and widely loved, and you still are. Happy Birth Day!”

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