Sunday, July 3, 2016

It was my birthday, so I had thoughts

43 years ago at 12:48 pm on the 18th of June, my mother gave birth after 12 hours of labor.

Completely natural: no pain meds, no husband in the room. In labor. For twelve hours. All to bring me into the world.

12 hours may seem like a breeze to those who have horror stories, but to me the idea of being in labor for twelve hours makes me quiver in fear. The idea of doing it without pain meds??  AACK.

Me, I had one child completely natural whose labor & delivery lasted all of 20 minutes. I was convinced I was going to die, that the nurses were trying to kill me, and vowed to never, ever, ever, EVER have a child without an epidural. In fact, I swore on tape I would never have another child because that experience sucked so bad. I STILL remember the pain. (I had four more kids, but it took almost 5 years before the next one came.)

So 12 hours of labor? Oh heck ya, my mom is a super hero!!

What did she get for all that hard work? One horrendously ugly baby.  I'm not even joking. Teensy new little me was NOT pretty.  I weighed in at exactly 7lbs. Not exactly small, not exactly large, but I was the largest of the children she's had.

See??  Not cute.

My extended family insists I was cute as can be, but that's because I was the first grandchild and they're completely biased.  Now, maybe I could have been considered cute at three months?

Umnmm, maybe. If you're feeling generous. 

By the time I was five, I was definitely cute.

Aaaand then I ruined it by cutting my hair:

Not only did my mother get an ugly baby, but she got a tomboy who hated wearing dresses and wanted nothing to do with being a princess or sparkly. Oh that made her sad. (I provided her with some very sparkly and princessy granddaughters, though.)  I did, however, love dolls. The smaller and more miniature the better, but dolls of all sizes made me happy and she loved sitting with me to dress them up and do their hair. 

I should probably also note one other thing.  In addition to being as reckless and tomboyish as possible, I hated having my hair done. Hated it. Allowing ribbons or braids or anything was a battle that was only won if my dad got involved. I would purposely lose my hair brush just so she'd leave my hair alone. (Can you say snarls? Oh yeah, snarls)

In addition to fighting over hair, I had three brothers. As the oldest child, and only girl, I was determined to keep up with them. I raced my bike, jumped off ramps, flew down steep hills on roller skates and skateboards just as fearlessly (well, maybe not as fearlessly) as they did.

There were some pretty deep ditches where we lived, and we would bike down one side and up the other to see who could do it and land perfectly. Pretty much our version of the x-games but on dirt.  There was one day my brother and I were doing the biking down/up/down in the big ditch and we both ended up crashing. The day before school pictures.

Aren't we just the cutest pair? We had even more scrapes and bruises on elbows, knees, hands, etc. Were we sorry about our wrecks? Heck no! My mom, however, sighed and fretted over these pictures. I can't really blame her. At least my brother is cute!

Now... the next couple of pictures might not mean a whole lot to you, but when I saw these pictures I wondered who that girl was. It took a while before I realized that since those were my brothers, my mother, and my grandparents, then that too skinny girl had to be me. I was always hungry. There was never enough food in the house unless we were visiting grandparents.

We sure were a happy lot. /snort  

My best friend in the whole wide world, Kelly, had shared her ice-cream cone with me!!!  Oh it was yummy. I can still remember the taste of the strawberry ice-cream and the feel of the sun on my face. Mom snapped this picture. Probably because I was wearing pink. --At that point, I wore what fit because that was all we had. Being picky wasn't an option.

I don't know if you can tell, but my brothers and I were smooshed into one bedroom. I had the rollaway bed which folded up. My brothers had the bunk beds with trundle. In order to have room to play, we'd fold up my bed and roll the trundle under. I can't count how many times I pinched my fingers on the metal latch that kept my bed together when I folded it up. I never minded, though, I had a cool bed compared to everyone else.

Mom , bless her heart, did the very best she could to wrangle her very hyper, very curious, and very rowdy children. I think the only peace she had was when we slept.

When I was in Jr. High, I was snotty, bratty, and horribly disrespectful to my mother. We fought over everything. One time she took the hinges off my door because I'd blocked it off with a chair. I hadn't wanted to talk to her or do whatever chore it was she had in mind for me. -- My brothers tease me endlessly about this whenever we get together --  I grew out of whatever teenage angsty anger that was, and wow do I regret how I treated my mother. (insert jr. high pic here.)

Thankfully I did grow up. Here's my High School self, who grew out of awkward and into kinda pretty.  I love this picture. I think it captures my feisty, snarky, impish, intelligent, and playful traits.
Obviously, six children and nearly 30 years later, I do not look like my high school self anymore. However, my face and height are pretty much the same. I think. 

Today mom and I exchange jewelry; she fusses over my princess daughters who love sparkles and pink. She loves on the others, taking pride in their accomplishments, and sits on the floor to play with my little ones and her great-grandchild. 

She's pretty awesome. 

Thus my awe at her 12 hours of labor for me. I took the longest for her to birth, she was the sickest with me, and, oh, did I mention that I had colic? yeah. I cried ALL the time until I was 9 months old. 

She deserves flowers every year on June 18th, a certificate from Daryl Hoole and Dr Laura (two of her heroes) applauding her efforts to feed and clothe us, and a big gold star that allows her automatic entry into heaven.