Family, Parenting

My Son’s Gift On His Birthday

toddler with pinata
Piñata, photo by Marina Montoya,


Birds chirped, the fountain dripped and a gardener’s blower punctuated my thoughts.The morning began with wistful moments.

Today is my son’s birthday. A rush of memories swept across my mind’s eye. A baby with his first piñata, a toddler with a potty chair, a new backpack for Kindergarten…

Could it be 30 years? When did he turn 25, 20, or 10 years old?

Did I really go from anxious mother in my ninth month of pregnancy through childhood, up and over the teen years to my son’s adulthood? So soon?

I remember hoarding baby books in preparation for his birth. Post-it notes and highlighter pen colored pages of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

I worked in Whitter, CA commuting from Burbank on treacherous Los Angeles freeways. When I was in my third month my car was rear-ended on Highway 134. An ambulance came when I said I was pregnant.

In my fourth month, I began spotting. My secretary, a mom, took care of me. I was scared to death I might lose a child who I was just beginning to feel deep inside.

I remember the high school track where my husband took me to get exercise, mainly because he gained as much weight as I had by my sixth month.

Once, I saw myself in a full-length mirror during my eight month. In profile. I wore my favorite pink sweatsuit, which was white on the chest and stomach area. “I look like a fat pink kangaroo,” I cried.

We told bits and pieces of these stories to my son on his birthday never leaving out the hospital run. My husband’s old silver Camaro roared down Highway 134 with me clutching the bucket seats, in fear of the excessive speed and the pain of the cramps. Turned out the cramps were Braxton Hicks. He drove slower the next time we went to the hospital, both of us thinking of another false alarm. It wasn’t.

I told my son about the 21 hours of labor and my move from the cool mama birthing room to a cold steel gurney for an emergency C-Section. “All those breathing classes,” my husband said.

Baby, photo by Howard Ignatius,
Baby. Photo by Howard Ignatius,

His dad told him the ‘hospital story,’ when I wouldn’t leave him after they released me but not him because of jaundice.

“They sent in nurses, a social worker, the doctor, and finally a priest.”

“I wouldn’t budge,” I’d say.

The hospital staff gave in to me saying I’d be responsible for bringing him in three times a day for his Bilirubin counts. We did. The stubbornness of new mothers.

I remember the touch of my son’s silky baby fingers on my face; a blink of recognition from his eyes when he turned to my voice. First words, first everything.

Parents. We remember a toddler’s triumphs on the potty or their discovery of new things. And everything was new.

We remember the stick figure drawings they first gave to us, turkey hands at Thanksgiving, and homemade Christmas decorations from school.

We recall the angst, pimples, broken hearts and we felt life right alongside them. Sometimes.

And then, somehow, when you’re not ready, the years roll by with so many firsts, challenges, and heartaches.

We know we can’t protect our children from everything life will bring, but we pray or hope or nag them thinking we can. We hope they’ll turn to us when life gets hard and they need a listening ear.

The pages of their book, your book too, keep turning.

Sometime today, I will shed a tear (I already am, of course) remembering the gift my son gave me on his birthday.

10 thoughts on “My Son’s Gift On His Birthday”

  1. ugh….that didn’t tug at my heartstrings — i ripped them and opened up my own set of memories and astonishment at how fast my son is growing up. he’s 16 now and driving himself all over the place. freaks me out…thank you for this post….it speaks for parenthood, in general!!


  2. <3! What to expect when you're expecting . . . hoarding baby books . . . braxton hicks at 36 weeks . . . so many resonances. And this particularly scary one–I, too, was hit by a car in my third month of pregnancy!


  3. My children are grown and I reminisce on them being little children.

    We do our best don’t we in teaching them to do the right thing and hope they stay on that path.

    That’s all we can do.

    So your husband picked up some pounds too. 😀
    That’s too funny.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.