My daughter’s birthday is April 22nd. I’m talking about my middle child– the only one of the three who had the good sense to arrive in the middle of the afternoon after her mom had a full night’s sleep. The day after she was born, fifteen years ago today, I held her in my arms wrapped in a blanket as she continued to ease her way into the world. I was wrapped in joy. The temperature had climbed to 80 degrees, unseasonably warm for Boston. I remember how it seemed as if the tree buds and flower blossoms had popped out fully in one single bright day– like cheerful party balloons. All of humanity was out parading in the streets to celebrate and I was totally content to remain in my cocoon with my tiny daughter, just the two of us spending her first full day together.
She was what folks call an “easy baby.” An instant charmer, she became the recipient of many nicknames including “Mikoolee-sam-sam” and “Marshmallow” from her older brother. (When she did cry, he would say she was wearing her “wah wah face.”) Perhaps as a way to defend herself from his occassional bursts of over-exuberance, her first words were “pow pow!” She was also a trend-setter: long before the popular “Twilight” series, her two eye teeth came in like tiny pointed fangs, giving her the look of a miniature vampirene. My little girl learned to smile very quickly and had the heartiest, throaty laugh I have ever heard bubbling from any baby’s mouth. As a toddler, she took to spoon-feeding her friends in her childcare coop and offering toys whenever one of them was upset. She has an innate ability to get her priorities straight, deciding what is truly important in life. Perhaps this trait comes from having a birthday touched by death- both my grandmothers passed away on April 22, one twenty-five years before, and the other when my daughter turned nine- a reminder that life is too short to fret over trivial afflictions.
Today, the sky is gray and the leaves have not yet burst forth, though the forsythia is in full bloom and the tulips are beginning to appear. At age 15 many girls are trying to push away from their moms, so I was amazed that she was willing to share her birthday with me. From hot chocolate and almond croissants to a shopping excursion with a friend, eating one of her favorite dinners (chicken tikka masala) to opening her presents and going to a late night movie-what a gift to spend an entire day with my daughter!
And now I’m imagining some other infant born on Earth Day being held by her mother, joyful in the small new world they share together. Since my daughter and I both bought summer shirts during her shopping excursion yesterday, it sure would be nice if we could have one of those 80 degree spring days so we could go outside and celebrate!