26 January 2015

Three Feels Big

The Bairn turned three-years-old today.  When I was growing up, it never occurred to me that my birthdays might be more significant to my mother than they were to me.  She wasn't getting gifts or cake or the ability to go to school or drive a car like I was.  In fact, until The Bairn had his first birthday, I never considered that while I reflected on my previous birthdays each time I turned a year older, Mom was probably remembering my birth day.

Today I watched the clock and said to myself (and sometimes to Steve), this time three years ago . . . I was having contractions in the corner market.  I was still 10 hours away from having a baby.  I was on my way to the hospital.  I was a brand new mother.

I can't ever think of The Bairn's birth without thinking of all the kindness we received, far away from family, in a moldy, mouse-infested tenement, and so bewildered by parenthood that I couldn't even figure out how to take care of a newborn and fix myself lunch simultaneously without help.  Just getting to and from the hospital (three trips) took six different kind people. I had planned to use taxis but was told again and again by our friends (and sometimes mere acquaintances) that I was to call them day or night for rides. Maureen, who drove us to the hospital when we actually stayed and delivered The Bairn, chatted merrily to me, occasionally glancing at me in the rear view mirror and assuring me in her Scottish brogue, "I'm just trying to take your mind off it.  You'll be fine!" and Charlie, who drove us to the hospital 3 days later when I had a panic attack and who is the father of 10 children himself, asked me if Steve was taking proper care of me and told me stories about his first child.  Tina and Angela found me at the hospital that night after Julie, who had brought us dinner, didn't find us at home.  Angela took me to her house the next day where Aileen sat next to me for hours and taught me how to breastfeed.  And Tina kept me at her house for weeks after that, planting me on a couch with a plate of chocolates and whisking The Bairn away for some snuggling in a different room so I could sleep.

I don't know if The Bairn will ever meet any of these people who now live across an ocean from him, but they are the angels present for his birth.  He will surely hear stories about them, as they've rooted themselves in our family history through their service to us.

This is my friend Emily's blog.  We were roommates at BYU and at Sunday dinners she used to lead the discussion among roommates on topics such as which superpowers we would most enjoy.  She and her two children are in the middle of a year-long trip abroad and I love reading about her travels and her insights into her experiences, but this post, about kindness, is my favorite.  It's what I want to say about our friends in Scotland.

Happy Birthday to my three-year-old boy!  I'm so grateful for him and for all the new helpers in his life, because I can make lunch while I care for him now, but I'm still a bewildered parent working out how to raise this clever kid.

Chatting with Aunt Jean over Birthday Cupcakes


eliana23 said...

This is exactly how I feel, especially about the people who helped me there at the beginning when I was so completely terrified and clueless. I feel like I talk about them all the time in every lesson about love and service, but they made such an impact on me. You brought me a happy tear today. Thanks. And happy birthday to a very charming lad.

Jacqui said...

The phrase "call day or night" brings instant tears. Does it do that to you, too? It will always remind me of the time that phrase was said to me, the day before I unexpectedly went into premature labour with Liam, and it made an indescribable difference in my life. I can't see the phrase without being instantly filled with overwhelming gratitude. Angels is the only way to describe them!

MBC said...

Yeah, there's something about help to the helpless that's so powerful. It's always my go-to example at church, too. It just meant everything to us at the time and the magnitude of the experience hasn't ever dimmed.

Reading Liam's birth story makes me well up, Jacqui, right at the part where Lorraine offers help. Kindness is just everything.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to the Bairn and my love to his parents who are doing such a great job in teaching about this life of his.


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