Twenty four years ago (1990) on May 19 I had my last baby. While she left the nest about six years ago, it is only now that I will accept she has her wings and probably won`t be flying back here anytime soon!
I consider the 24th birthdays of my children to be THE birthday, the one when they become adults. Up to then they can still pull on my apron strings, cling onto my leg crying "mommy mommy don't leave me", ask me for money, call me at 1 am crying about a broken romance, and I can still say "because I said so".
Who am I kidding, I am 54 and still call my mother asking for money.
At least at 24, they should have the experience, a lot of the bad and some of the good, and at least have a direction of travel.
They should have their book smarts and be ready to revel in what is most important to get them through, street smarts. They should be starting on the road of their journey now, not hitchhiking with a guitar strung over their back, not hitting me up for bus money, not traveling in a commune of like-minded fatty smokers dressed like a bohemian and heading for a beach party somewhere, but with an itinerary at least that promises some very rewarding stops on the way.
And some fun ones too.
The world is their oyster, they have to decide what they make with the grains of sand at their feet.
It doesn't mean they cannot decide to change direction but at 24 they should have the internal compass aka common sense to know how to learn from their mistakes and avoid that direction again. They should have found out who they are, at least for the next decade. They should have seen the opposite sex naked, vice versa, or maybe not even the opposite sex, I don't care, but they should have some experience in that department, I am not one of those wait until your wedding night type of mothers. After all, when I got married, and I was 24 by the way, I had our first child seven months later. On her due date. They should have learned to laugh at themselves.
Enter Emelia, biologically my last baby I gave birth to, or should I say the baby had to cut out of me. I like to remind her of that, for some reason it gives me great pleasure to blame her instead of the pringles, soda pop, cookies and menopause. She is the reason for my bouncy flop and the end to my string bikini days. (What's that World?? Did I just hear a collective "THANK YOU" ???)
OK, fine ! Before the flop it still wouldn't have been a great fashion statement but that is not the point. Emelia was born May 19,1990 a month early, the c section done by a doctor of very short stature, so short that when he stood up from sitting at his desk he didn't get any taller. So short he had to stand on a stool to examine me. This was very hard to be on an exam table in "the" position when your husband, who laughs at his own jokes, is standing behind the doctor in your field of vision making dwarf signs. (The doctor thought I was shaking because I was nervous!) I had my first and last c-section with Emelia, who came out weighing exactly the same as her older sister, 7.11 and the exact height 21 inches.
That is about all they have had in common ever since.
I did not get to hear her first cry or see her take her first breath when she came out from under my heart, from being tucked away, just the two of us, I saw her about two hours later. I saw my first two babies born before my eyes, so I know what the emergency circumstances of her birth cost me. That one memory of that one raw miracle moment that is absorbed into your memory permanently. But I got a different memory. It took me about two days to fully wake up and be conscious from the c-section because I got very sick very fast and had to have a lot of blood transfusions.
Day three I was just wanting to sleep, I had never felt post op pain like I had been experiencing, I was just plain miserable and not feeling very maternal at all. My attempts to slumber were being disturbed by the crying of a newborn down in the nursery about four rooms up. I kept waiting for it to stop, wondering where the nurses were and why they were not doing something, take the kid to his mother, stick a soother in his mouth, find a breast!! (Like I said I was in a bad mood.)
Finally I couldn't take it anymore and although I was supposed to be on bed rest I got out of bed, held my gut, like it was about to explode open, in one hand, the i.v.pole in another and marched out of my room and down the hallway bent over like the hump back of Notre Dame. I felt like I was marching, `cause I was irate, but really I was hobbling. The halls were empty, no nurses around anywhere. I supposed if my guts blew open I would have to find some paper towel myself and take care of it.
I approached the nursery and there was only one baby in there, the rest, I supposed, were with their adoring mothers, rooming in. The infant was yelling, there is no other word for it. Not fussing, not weeping, not even crying, it was yelling. Eyes wide open looking around and as soon as I appeared her eyes were set on me. The little pink card on the layette said Èmelia Coryn. F-u-c-k !
If I knew then what I knew now I would not have been shocked at all. At 72 hours old she was inquisitive, mouthy, and stubborn and she will always let you have her way. Not much has changed. I was faced with a choice. I knew I had to let go of either the iv pole or my incision because this kid was coming back to my room. I knew instinctively it was the only way she was going to be quiet and I could go back to sleep. I was also aware I would be in trouble from the gestapo in white if they saw me out of bed. So I tentatively released my hand from my incision, risking a gory event, I was sure of it, and pushed the isolette down the hallway whispering to Emelia to shut up or I was going to be in trouble. `Shut up`yes I admit it, I told you, I was not feeling warm and fuzzy thoughts. She didn`t take her eyes off me, clearly sizing me up as if this was an interview for the job as Emelia`s mother.
I pushed the isolette up as close to my bed as possible, lay back down, closed my eyes, and she started yelling again. Here is the moment that made up for the one I lost when she was born. I reached over to her, put my hand on her hand, she wrapped her fingers around one of mine, and went to sleep. At that moment she didn`t need to be held or rocked or nursed, she just wanted to know I was close by. Our relationship has been like that ever since.
Five years later I adopted three more babies moving her from the baby to the middle child. She now had two older brothers and an older sister, and two younger brothers and a younger sister.
But Emelia is not one to get lost in the middle. It`s not just her good looks, intelligence, or almost six feet of height that makes her stand out, it`s her strength of character, integrity, and genuineness. I am so happy I passed on those traits to her!
Our 24 years together almost mimics marriage vows. It has been almost a quarter of a century of having and holding from that day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish. I tried to slip in the obey part but she would have none of it.
As I officially release my baby girl into adulthood, I remember, symbolically, these 24 things, the moments absorbed into my mind,that make me melancholy, or make me laugh, or make me happy, or make me wish the time had not gone by in an instant. And I am not referring to her baby book for any of the information, Unless I remember it on my own, it doesn`t count.
In no particular order:
1) The time she went after two older boys who were bullying her older brother and told them to leave her ``bwutha`` alone or she would smash them in the face. (She was three, or should I say "fwee").
2) The times her father smacked her on the arm or hand when she was doing something he disapproved of and she would look him dead in the eye, wipe off the ``smack`` and tell him it didn`t hurt.
3) The time she wanted to ``do her eyebrows`` unknowingly using her brothers electric razor and had to live with one less eyebrow for about a month until it grew back in.
4) She would never eat her food unless it wasn`t touching. Right down to the last grain of rice, she hand separated it, in spite of her father`s warnings that she was not going to have any supper unless she started eating NOW. She completely ignored him and continued on excavating her plate, and I suspect she slowed her pace down, on purpose. She was two.
5) The time she wanted me to sneak up on her older sister who she told me through giggles was in her underwear, and take a photograph. The same day we were videotaping her older sister practicing her `modelling` moves and Emelia was in the background making fun of her, and quickly became the focus of the video.
6) The time I rented a limousine for her and her friends on her 10th birthday and how excited she was.
7) The day her dad and I surprised her with two eight week old Siamese kittens. We had intended to only get one, but there were two left. Anyone who knows me knows THAT wasn`t going to happen.
8) The time I got a phone call from the horse ranch to tell me she had been thrown from her horse and was at the hospital. The horse had stepped on her arm and her head when she was down, cracking her helmut. When we got here we found her arm was broken, her head was not. The drive to the hospital was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
9) The time her first boyfriend accidentally saw me naked.
10) The phone call I got from her telling me she had just found Harry dead (one of the two Siamese cats) and the long hug we had in the driveway when I got home.
11) Giving her dog Jesse away, not realizing how close she really was to him. 'Always been sorry for that.
12) Max, Zack, Thomas, Kohlea, Devon,Jens, Clay, Alex, David; acknowledging these are only the ones I know about. And it took ALOT for me even to type the name `Thomas`....%?$/*")* Oh and most recently the guy who should really edit his Facebook page in case his new girlfriend's mother decides to "creep" his FB photos and videos….. (I didn't know you could, or SHOULD, do that with a garden hose!)
13) Her first crush, Skeeder Barrie.
14) The big fight we had in the driveway.
15) The horrific surgery she had to have on her feet and the metal poles had to have through the top of her toes for six weeks. (She got her feet from her father).
16) The only arguments with the kids her father ever lost were with her. Her ``M.O.`` was to frustrate him to the point of exhaustion.
17) How beautiful she was on her high school graduation day and how proud I was of her.
18) The day she thought Lucy was actually going to be a bike for her 21st birthday, and the look on her face when I took the one pound puppy out of the bag and handed it to her. Their`s has been a love story ever since.
19) The day she called her little brothers and sister telling them we had to go out and forgot herself for a moment and said ``out and go pee`` - a common statement in our multi-dog household. And I have to say I have never seen her giggle so hard and for so long. I think she may have snorted.
20) Toilet training her using....not candy, not promises of wonderful toys, not praise of how clever she was... all that would work was a three inch giant dill pickle she would hang out of her mouth like a stogie whilst doing her business.
21) The dozens of hand written notes she would leave under my pillow telling me how much she loved me, I have most of them to this day. I wish I had appreciated them at the time as much as I do now.
22) Cannoli, self help books in the mail, ``a phone call, a letter or a visit``to Mr. Rennie and Say Yes to the Dress. (not HER dress!)
23) The disastrous weekend we spent in Victoria thanks to food poisoning. One day we ARE GOING to have a do-over!!
24) The chance finding of her foot sticking out from her covers revealing a lie that backfired and her first official hang over the next day. (She can fill you in on what her mean mother made her do the next day!!!!!!)
I have not been a perfect mother but I have to say, in all honesty, I think she hasbeen the perfect daughter. I mean that. Her imperfections were perfect to me. They made me laugh just when I needed to, they made me look at myself in the mirror and try to be better. They humbled her father and put him in his place when that is where he needed to be.
From the beginning of her life she is the one who made me get out of bed when I wanted to just hide under the covers, and I mean that literally and metaphorically.
Emelia, as you explore the big world of possibilities, be optimistic, be kind always, love freely, take care of every creature, listen to your heart, listen to your little voice, remember you are always loved and give thanks for all your blessings as I give thanks for you being mine.
Your mum......forever and ever. Until next time, keep being fabulous. Sian Erith Thomson
Until next time, thinking of my fabulous girl.X0 Sian Erith Thomson