Day 8: Birthdays


Taking part in the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Eight

When I think of birthdays, I think of the day Jeffrey was born, the day I became a mother, and the day I first ever was certain of a belief in God. All points and directions in my life triangulated at that moment. It felt like the fullness of time, place and spirit. A pinpoint of light, tearing open the veil of heaven in the smallest—but very brightest—and most unmistakable way.

His eyes were still squeezed tightly shut, his body covered in the vernix of birth. They laid him on my chest, and I marveled, almost unable to breathe, that in that moment, something that wasn’t only a moment before, suddenly was. How was this possible? Where did he come from? I gingerly stroked his velvety cheek with my finger, almost afraid to touch him. The perfection of a newborn still leaves me in awe, every time.

Slowly, he opened one eye, the other smashed into my chest, his fists curled up like flowers still unfurling from their protective sepals. Tears were running down my face, and I looked up- he was a redhead! He had no hair, but his lashes— his tiny, new, curling lashes, were the color of a bright new penny. In all the years I imagined my child, I never once imagined a copper-haired baby. But there he was, and I was head over heels in love.

I have no idea how long I lay there holding his curled body against my warmth. I know the doctor was busy doing unseemly things to me, but I wasn’t paying attention. I was blown away at the act of creation, that creation happened through my body, and that this baby— this very clearly someone-baby—was suddenly, just-like-that, embodied. I was a mother. And I knew there was a God. It was a pretty triangle.