cafe mama

finding magic every day

birthday . april 28. 2011

many birthdays for truman and jonathan
The day Truman came into the world was one full of a constant gray rain. These are the days I love most in spring in Portland when I am very, very pregnant (and many other times, besides); what is there to do, after all, but go inside and focus everything inward, wait, perhaps, or push and yowl and pull and in the end needs slice and stitch and slowly slowly heal: there, a baby, made in the rain.

Of course I knew, but Jonathan forgot until the next day that it was his own birthday, too. Later we would look at them in admiration of the match, their dark hair and dark eyes a marked difference from Everett and I (blondish, eyes more green, freckles coming into their own, however slowly, contrary to their father's resolutely flaxen-skinned biology). Truman would at one point claim his father's middle name as his own, instead of the "Thomas" we gave him. "Truman David Hanson," he'd say. His father's boy, his father's decades-removed twin.

With two birthdays on one day, I should do better. A big party with invitations mailed and hot dogs a-sizzle and guests coming at all hours. But it is this inward time for me, I do not want to spring wide my doors and play expansive hostess; I want to sit on a birthing ball before the window in the cloud-founded dark of day, staring just past the rain into myself. I want the house swept clean, of people, too; I want only the sound of our two hearts, one slow, one buhbipbuhbipbuhbipbuhbip, my breath shallow in my throat before I remember, and again breathe deep as the rain is steady. I can bring this boy into the world.

But I want the world serene, quiet as the buses swishing-sighing by on splashing streets, I want perhaps a timid pile of presents, wrapped in greys and blues, eyes wide and room too dark for any but the magical photograph, that one from the pile of a dozen that sees into my wise small boy's dark eyes.

He has a joke. "Why did the newborn cross the road?" Why indeed, I ask. "Because it wanted too!" he cries, and I knit my eyebrows into his hilarity and wonder, why, how? My logic is no match for his; he believes in everything at once and will be both a black ninja, and a mage.

Birthday come, he moves everywhere in all directions, he dances to the door, he knows it's a special day. A day that dawned with rain-plashing car wheels earlier than any of us were full awake, then cleared and brightened and beamed just as the happy boy. It wakes us all, and I will welcome friends and family, I will buy those grey-wrapped gifts, I will cook chili and hot dogs and believe in magic and the hilarity of road-crossing babies (who do, I hope, look both ways). And before we head homeward from his kindergarten classroom celebration -- where he, wound up and fizzled with excitement, cannot decide whom to pick for his birthday book presentation, and gives up with a rollick -- it rains, and rains, and rains.

We come home cold, turn up the heat and change our clothes, we celebrate cozied up with friends who do not hurry home in the chill April drizzle. "Was it the best birthday, ever?" I ask as I put him to bed. "Yeeee-eesss!" he thrills, still wobbling with joy.

Dishes left in sink, cake crumbs scattered everywhere, wrapping paper underfoot, I fall to bed, joy-wobbled, too.

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read my previous post . winning the prize . april 25 . 2011