Memory- The Night you were born.

I’m two weeks over due and walking the neighborhood with Noni. She has flown down to North Carolina for your birth and your due date has came and went. We are both anxious and I feel like you may not ever come out. The military doctors don’t seem too concerned that you’re still in there… but I’m beginning to think you’ll never come out. I also know that it’s impossible for my little body to stretch any bigger. I can not see my feet. I feel like a big blimp while walking. Come on baby. Come on out. Your Noni is saying while rubbing my belly one afternoon while I eat multiple clementines.

We go to the hospital, instead of the doctors office, because I guess this is how the military works. I’ve never had a baby before so this all seems pretty normal. But not what I remember at all from your Aunt Jenny having her babies. Well we can’t keep him in there much longer. The doctor says But you’ll have to wait until Wednesday because there’s a full moon and that means more babies. 

We go home and pack our bags. (I know now that we were completely unprepared with the things that we brought.) We wake up early Wednesday morning. I am beaming. So excited. I look at your Daddy and say snap one last picture. I want him to see how big he was in my belly. Your Daddy does, then he says We’re gonna have a baby today!

We drive to the hospital and they give me all kind of medicine to get things started. And it’s both terrible and exciting. But mostly terrible. On Wednesday I sleep. One Thursday the contractions start and I have already requested the epidural. I have watched Aunt Jenny and I know. I know that this is my birth plan. The contractions come and go and late into Thursday evening I call the nurse and tell her that it’s time to push. It sure is honey. But there’s a problem. There aren’t any doctors available to help me. So the nurse says that she’s going to help me to push until the doctor becomes available. So we push and push and push some more. They change my position. They have me at weird angles because they say it will help. But you my dear are not budging. Then the nurse sees you, finally. And she says You have to stop pushing now! By this point it is late into Thursday evening. The epidural has worn off and the doctor comes in to tell me that they can’t give me more. And I also am not allowed to push you out because you are “sunny side up” and I might snap your neck if I do. Then she leaves.

The nurse comes back in looking furious. They will do your c-section, but there’s not enough staff so you have to wait and I can’t give you anything else. There’s another woman in line for the o.r. and you can’t go before her because your baby is healthier than hers. I will give you a list of names. You can file a complaint. This is ridiculous.

Then we are left alone to wait. Your dad is angry. Your Noni is angrier. I am no longer smiling. I cry now when the contractions come because I am exhausted and I can’t push like my body is telling me that I should naturally do. I am crying because I am worried about you. Hours pass. Finally around 1 a.m. Friday morning they come and get me and give your Daddy the things he needs to come into the o.r. with me. They wheel me away and lay me on the cold metal table. Then they have to push you back up into my stomach because I have pushed you down too low and they’re going to take you out now. This, the pushing you back up, hurts the most out of everything. I am cursing at the doctor. Telling her to stop doing that.

Everything else is a blur. I throw up because of the medicine they give me. I look at your Dad who looks worried. I feel them tugging and pulling at my insides. Then at 2:38 a.m. Friday morning I hear your large, loud cry. You are here! Your daddy gets to see you before I do. Is he okay? I want to know. He’s perfect. He’s perfect. Your dad says over and over.

I am in recovery for four hours. It’s quiet and I begin to think they forgot about me. I keep waiting for someone to take me to you. To let me be near you. I just want to hold you. Then, near 5 a.m. they take me upstairs to my room. And there you are sleeping quietly in your Daddy’s arms.

Your Daddy has changed your diaper. Your Daddy looks so proud. But your Noni is going to miss her flight soon so your Daddy has to leave. He hands me you and they go.

This time that I got with you. Just me and you, without the world. To meet and say hello. Was the best time. I was scared looking at a miniature version of my face. What will I do with the baby? But I talked to you and nursed you without the world looking at me, judging me as a new mom, who didn’t know what she was doing. I held you for hours. Until I read the sign on the wall that said DO NOT FALL ASLEEP WITH YOUR BABY IN YOUR BED. So I called the nurse and she put you in your bed.

Your daddy was back by the time I woke up.

So, bug, that’s the story from the night that you were born. I believe I actually thanked the doctors for you as they wheeled me away. I also knew when I saw you that if for some reason you were it. (My only baby) That would be okay.

You will be six years old tomorrow and time has flown.

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Memory.

There’s a knock on the wall. I sleepily go to get up to check on her. But suddenly, she’s in my room… Beaming the biggest smile I’ve seen on her face in a while.

Wake up, Jo! Wake up! She whispers, excitedly.

I sigh. Tonight must be a good night. These don’t come very often. Her energy is flying through her. She is bouncing off of the walls.

Get up. Put a coat and shoes on… don’t worry about changing your clothes. Let’s go. Let’s go. Let’s go. 

Where are we going? Are you moving again? She hasn’t told me to start packing. I get out of bed, slip my shoes on, and grab my coat off of the chair. We are living at my grandmother’s house. I am 17 and we are here so that my grandma can help me take care of my mom. Because my mom says I “needed a break.”

Shh. She says Don’t want to wake the dragon. As we are creeping down the stairs. Past the couch, where my grandmother lays sleeping.

Go now. Go. Outside? Where too? Do I need my keys?

Don’t act like you haven’t snuck out before. Don’t make a noise opening the door. Now go. 

I usually just go out the back. She is rolling her eyes at me.

I open the front door, with as little as a squeak and the cold air hits me full force in the face. Not uncomfortably cold, but the temperature has dropped. And I see it. I know now why we’re awake, and outside, at 2 in the morning. It’s snowing. She knows it’s my favorite.

It’s snowing Jo! It’s snowing for you! She grabs my hand and we stand in the yard together, just looking at all of the yards and houses all covered in white. No one is out now, but us. The whole neighborhood is quiet. Normally dirty, and run down looking… Now looks new.

Isn’t it beautiful? She whispers. Everything is brand new and magical. Anything can happen during the first snow. 

My mother doesn’t have anything to give me. I know she feels bad most of the time because of it. She is sad that all of my clothes come from the thrift store, sad because we never went on a family vacation, sad because she got sick when I was nine and since then I have been raising myself. She says these things to me when she’s feeling down. She says I’m sorry I can’t do your laundry. I’m sorry you don’t get new jeans. I’m sorry I am sick. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. 

My mother doesn’t know that she has given me everything. It’s just been her and I from the time I turned 14. My brother and sister moving out on the first chance that they got. I got her. In a different way than they did. I got her stories and memories and to be her friend. I got her waking me up to tell me something she wanted me to know that she wanted for her funeral. I got her childhood, her adulthood, her love life, her dreams, and her hopes for us. She gave me all of that…

and… she gave me the snow.

Real life and being a Debbie downer.

So here’s the thing… 

People who are reaching the end of their twenties to their early thirties who feel like they are owed something by the world because of the life they’ve had are my biggest irritation on the face of the Earth. 

(If this does not apply to you, please disregard. If it does please take my advice.) 

1. The world owes you nothing. Your parents owe you nothing. You are not owed. Take some accountability for yourself.

2. Quit wishing for things to change. Wishes aren’t real. Get off your ass and work towards something.

3. Fairytales aren’t real. Men on white horses are not real. There is not going to be much magic… And chances are you’ll have to remind him to take out the trash.

4. Money doesn’t grow on trees and jobs are not handed to you. Work for what you want, everyone else has.

5. Quit this cry baby bullshit and grow up.