babies, birthdays, and expectations

{Guest post today written by my Mom!}

I have to tell you that Lauren doesn’t really like  her birthday.  She loves to plan and bake and shop for other people’s birthdays, but being the center of attention makes her a bit uncomfortable.  I think we all feel like that at times.


I could blame myself.  Moms do that.  See that first picture of the birthday girl, age one, climbing onto her new horsie, and looking pretty morose about it all?   I felt so bad for her.  I think she didn’t feel good.  Maybe it was an ear infection, or new teeth coming in. Worse, she also sported a black eye from bumping her cheekbone on a counter two days before.
          


But by birthday number 2, Lauren was a happy girl, tearing into packages and hugging her new doll.
          


Happy again on birthday number 3, Lauren tore into more packages.  Yet there it is again, Lauren, back against the wall, crying with joy, scarcely believing we got her that tricycle. She was overcome with joy. Really? For me?

Maybe that discomfort comes from way back, so let’s get into the WAYBACK MACHINE, and visit Lauren on that First Day.
          


In 1983 we didn’t find out the sex of the baby prior to that first yelp and deep breath of air.  John had already been born, and I was pretty sure he was the perfect boy, so I secretly really wanted a girl.  Yet when the obstetrician announced, “It’s a girl, Geri!” I crabbily countered: “No it’s not!”  I was sure he was kidding.

But Dr. Webster wasn’t kidding.  There she was, prettier than I ever thought a newborn should be.  To me, most newborns look like wet chickens. But Lauren had lots of dark hair and long eyelashes and long, graceful fingers. The nurses were cooing and oooing.  And her eyes were bigger than dollar pancakes at Denny’s.
          


So I have to say, girl-schmirl.   My little hopeful expectation that the baby would be a girl got blown away. I got a Lauren.

For these are the things you can’t forsee when you first hold them in your arms. We never know as parents, just who this little person is going to be.  We help form them, but I believe a personality-filled little soul arrives in your arms saying, “hello!”

So I couldn’t forsee that Lauren would be all-sparkly and dazzled by life, intrigued by everything, physically plunking herself into and onto everything in sight:  laps, bicycles, sandpiles, library chairs, swimming pools, and softball fields. That she would be so full of feeling and passion that she would cry easily when given gifts and squirm and fiddle with you and do “jazz hands.”  That she would be tough enough at six to break a wrist playing, and then just when we had her casted up and were walking out of the ER, she quietly says, “I think the other wrist is broke, too.”  It was.  Tough enough to pitch softball for ten years and later run her first marathon. 

So if her birthday makes her self-conscious, it is probably because she feels so much. She squirms up against the wall, just like I crabbed at the doctor. Really? For me?  

Happy Birthday, honey!

Love and gratefulness, Mom