On this day in 1979 I gave birth to my second daughter, Nicole. Birth is a truly profound event that gets lost in how ordinary and commonplace it is. Bringing a totally new human into the world, one that is totally dependent and needs years to grow into being able to care for him or herself is no small thing. Birth has a way of reordering priorities, refocusing perspectives and distilling love. The primal act of birth reduces us to quivering, tearful, yet fierce guardians.
As individuals, we have many birthdays. We celebrate with presents and cake. We dismiss them as they mark just another year in our journey. But as mothers, we have but one or a few. The birth of each of our children changes us. The time after these births is different from all the time before. So while today is Nicole's birthday, it is also a birth day for me. I remember the event, the years since, the sweetness and the milestones we've shared. And, as is the way of humankind, she has this month, not only a birthday, but a birth day herself. Her son, my grandson, made her a mother last year.
Not every birth ends well. It is the risk we take as mothers. It is the risk Life demands. I gave birth three times but celebrate just two of them. I like to think that the other child rebounded with life to another mother and another birth day. Birth is profound. Life is what matters. I have done nothing more imporant with my life than this.