It was my daughters’ birthday yesterday. I always think it should be the parents who should celebrate birthdays, after all, it’s me who remembers it. In fact I remember it in crisp and clear detail.
I remember being cheered and clapped by the nursing staff as I managed to waddle up the stairs to the operating theatre under my own steam. I remember being told to curl up into a tight ball and not move as the epidural was given, although curling up into a tight ball and not moving was pretty unachievable given the size of my twin-filled tummy. I remember the lights, the smell, the team behind the screen that had been put up to stop me seeing the caesarean incision, and my husband beside me, his anxious eyes peering over the top of his surgical mask.
I remember getting the collywobbles in my top half, due, I was told, to the effect of the drugs, and no doubt exacerbated by feeling so excited I could burst.
I remember the first babies cry, and the ‘baby one is a little girl’
‘Helen’ my husband said
Then just two minutes later the second baby’s prostestations ‘Another little girl’
I remember when they put them in my still wobbly arms, one at a time because I couldn’t really move what with all the lines attached, and I remember saying ‘Happy Birthday’ to each of them and kissing them on the forehead.
I remember that instant surge of overwhelming love. I loved the whole world in that moment. In fact, they were my whole world.
They had to go off to the Special Baby Unit for a couple of days as Corinne just teetered on the edge of acceptable weight (5lb) and they wanted to keep them together. They were nestled in a single cot like a couple of sardines in a tin. Tiny knitted bonnets on their tiny blonde heads.
Oh yes, I remember it. And all the other birthdays and parties. The naff magician when they were three, the bouncy castle, the bowling party, the big girls disco when they were ten, the marquee at eighteen with drunken boyfriends in attendance (boo drunken boyfriend…you know who you are…).
These days it is rare for us to be together for their birthday, in fact, this year Helen worked a 12 hour shift (although she tells me that one of her colleagues did make her a very nice cake!) and Corinne was at a wedding, so we only just about managed to have a very brief phone call with each of them.
Never mind, we’re planning to celebrate together in June, and maybe I’ll get all the baby pictures out and remind them that, although it’s their birthday, for me, it was the most exciting and wonderful day of my life!
P.S. Reminiscing brought me to jot this down….
I remember two small girls
skipping along the hill
in the summer of their
cherry cheeked childhood
studying sticks and stones
amongst red-gold leaves
whilst clouds cast faint shadows
of long-legged beauty.
Then, in the chill of evening sun
Tramping down the slope,
for warm-up tea and
chocolate cake comfort.