Perhaps it was today. Today my middle child turned 21 years old. Yes, at midnight he went to drink (legally) and tonight he will go once again with his sister and his friends. Funny, I do remember that day he was born 21 years ago. Remember it almost as if … yes, here comes that “yesterday” cliche.
It was kick ass cold then as it is today. Ice on the bridges, and the only way to the Women’s Hospital in this city is via a bridge. I remember waiting as long as I could before leaving for the hospital because I’d learned with my first child, once you arrive, they keep you (damnit!) no matter how much you wish to be back home warm and painfree in your bed. No worries – I was still 2 hours from blastoff when I arrived there.
Funny, in the mirror is a woman with a face that has shifted, a bit downwards in fact, from the face of 21 years ago. More gray in the hair, yes, a couple of wrinkles, yes, but that is not where the most obvious changes are. There is a difference in the air around the face more than in the face. The years have colored the aura, tinting it with a bit of wisdom, a drop of sadness, a good dollop of wistfulness, some love swirls, but mainly a hue of realization that life goes on and someday life will go on without that face’s eyes seeing it.
The labor was “short”. Pity it wasn’t painless, too, but what fun would that be? I was certain before the doctor said it that the new child was a boy, if for no other reason than I already had mounds of girls clothes from the firstborn. So, I was even then – one boy, one girl, I’m done. Well, that would be another story. He was good-sized, healthy, and wailing as all wet, cold, newly blinded from light outside the womb babies will do.
Plopped into an incubator to warm up, all wrapped and tucked and sleeping quietly by that time while I stared at his peaceful presence and wondered what this one would be when grown. I caught a glimpse of a reflection of myself in the shiny glass wall of the incubator, me looking at him looking back at me. Who was that woman staring back? Something had changed, not so much in the features, but in the air around the face …..