May 28, 2008

happy birthday.

this was originally for Mother's Day last year. today, however, is my mom's birthday, so i thought it was apropos to rerun. especially since she's fond of reminding me that on her 21st birthday she was in labor and got jello with a candle in it.

happy birthday, momma.

She came to California to escape.
She came with dreams, most of them broken and a heavy heart...also broken.
She came looking for a new start.

She came expecting her first child.

As the car widened the distance from the past to the future, her memory was still at home, reliving everything from the past few months. She was in love. She thought he loved her. She imagined them setting up the American Dream: 2.5 kids, white picket fence, dog in the front yard.

But what she got instead was rejection from him.

So she went to his parents. Surely they, of all people, would help. They knew her. They loved her. They said so, and how glad they were that their son had this calming influence in his life. But all she got instead was rejection from them.

How do we know it's really his? You could be doing this to trap him into a future that's not his. He's not a child. He's 21. This is his child. The conversations kept looping like annoying muzak in her brain as they drove. California would be the answer. She & her mother and this unborn child would make a new life. A fresh start. She would find a love that would embrace both herself and this child. No rejection. No judgemental eyes. Only love and a bright future.

Months raced by as she prepared for the New Arrival. Cute clothes to be purchased. Toys. A baby's room to be decorated. Yet all the time, in the back of her mind, that loop of rejection kept playing. This should be us, she thought. Not my mother and i. This should be a mother and a father planning this together.

Occasionally, she would imagine that he would come looking for her, like she used to dream as a child that her father (who left when she was three) would come back for her and her mother. That would never happen, either.

The baby was born the day after her 21st birthday. A 21st birthday should be spent celebrating, but instead she got jello and split pea soup with a candle. Instead, she spent hours birthing a breech baby who, to make things more difficult, came out with the cord wrapped around her neck.
A girl.
A girl who looked like him. Like the man who rejected her. As the baby grew, she had no time to think of the past, as she did before. Occasionally, she would fall into the trap of What Could Have Been, but would stop, look at this baby, and remember that it's your past that shapes you, but your future is what you make of it.

She came to start a new life. Both for herself and the baby girl who writes this today.

I say she did a bang up job.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. i love you.


Pat said...

Touching story - I hope life has treated her better since, and that she had a lovely birthday!

jpysgrl said...

What wonderful writing!