I used to write a reflective blog post for every kid’s birthday. But after a while it started to feel more like an obligation than a chance to reflect and ponder and celebrate. And I felt kind of guilty if I wrote one for one child and not for another. Silly, I suppose. I’m super-sensitive sometimes to treating all my children equally and not favoring one over the other. And yet… writing is also for me and sometimes I need to write and sometimes I don’t.
Today Anthony turned 8. Eight years ago at about this time of day I was being wheeled in to the operating room. He was born at about 11:30 pm. It’s so typically Anthony that he couldn’t wait a few days until my scheduled c-section. Instead contractions started to be regular… and had been pretty consistent all day. And my obstetrician would have been rather stern with me had she realized how long I waited, hoping they’d subside, before I gave in and went to the hospital. I guess I like Anthony’s birth story because it’s the least fraught. I was scheduled for a c-section, but he came early before I had a chance to really get nervous. I went to the hospital after praying through the night with an icon a friend had sent me, after going to Mass that morning and receiving anointing. I was thoroughly ready. And then the surgeon on-call was so delightful. I liked her a thousand times more than the obstetrician I’d been seeing. So I was pretty comfortable and peaceful.
The most traumatic thing about it was how very late a night it was. I didn’t get into my room till almost 2am. And then they didn’t want to bring me the baby, they wanted to keep him in the nursery so I could sleep. But what I couldn’t convince them of was that I couldn’t sleep without him. When I finally had him next to me… then I could sleep.
My sweet Anthony.
I’m kind of an old hand at motherhood at this point. No, we haven’t seen the teen years yet, but I’ve seen all five of my kids through babyhood, toddlerhood, and preschool. Lucy, my baby, is six now and can write her name and read simple words and does a math page or two every day. She’s school age. And so we’ve got no little ones left… and probably won’t have any more little ones. So it’s a new stage. And maybe that’s why I spent so much time staring at photographs today. Not just photos of baby Anthony, but also of Ben and Bella and Sophie as they were eight years ago. Bella was just four, a few months away from five. And she seemed so big compared to that little baby. But she was a wee little thing herself. They were all wee rosy-cheeked cherubs. And now they are all so tall, so big.
Anthony didn’t get picture books today. He got one Asterix book and the rest were chapter books. He reads as avidly as his big sisters. He got a couple Lego sets and a K’nex set and a build-it-yourself robot set. He likes to build and to read. That’s Anthony in a nutshell. He’s never so happy as when he has a set of instructions to follow. And he’s the one I usually have to remind that it’s lights out at 10pm. He’s almost always still up with a book.
And now it’s time to wrap this up and go read my own book and go to bed. I’ve been fighting a cold the last couple of days and feel perfectly miserable. Maybe if I get a decent night’s sleep I’ll wake up feeling better in the morning. I can hope.