My birthday story

Every year on my birthday my mother would announce “I remember the day you were born….” and she would launch into what I came to think of as my birthday story. It was a story just for the two of us to share. She’d recall the weather (it was snowing), having contractions as she served my brother and sister breakfast before sending them to school and telling my father not to dawdle coming home from work because “the baby was coming.” I’d hear how he was indeed late, how she wanted to stop to buy magazines on the way to the hospital but didn’t have time to read them because I was so impatient to be born.

MomandMeOn my last birthday before my mother died, I went to visit her. She was very ill and her mental facilities were spotty. I told her it was my birthday, but she had forgotten. I asked her to tell me my birthday story. Frustrated with her own lack of comprehension she asked me crossly “what are you talking about?” Even when I prompted her, she just shook her head, not recalling what my birthday story was. Returning home, I realized bleakly that I would never hear my birthday story again. A part of me felt diminished.

On my first birthday after my mother’s death, my sister, Carla, who is seven years older than I am, took me out for the day. As we were driving, and completely out of the blue, she said “I remember the day you were born. The weather was just like this….” And then she told me about waiting with our brother and father for the call from the hospital, and how happy she was when she found out mom had had a baby girl.

I listened in stunned, joyous disbelief. My birthday story wasn’t gone! This was my birthday story from another perspective – a version that had never been told before. And with its telling that little part of me that I thought was diminished forever was restored.

Thank you for the birthday story, Carla. Happy birthday to me!

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16 thoughts on “My birthday story

    • You have videos of their birthday stories?!?!? Wow…. I couldn’t even begin to imagine. They must love seeing “their movies” because your girls did confirm to me yesterday that they would love to star in a movie someday. 🙂

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  1. That was beautifully touching – I know there are little family rituals that mean the world to me, that I would be sad to lose. As second oldest by only two years, I wonder if my older sister even remembers anything about the day of my birth. I do remember visiting my newborn baby sister in the hospital, and getting the phone call when my brother was born.
    Many happy (solar) returns 🙂

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    • It’s been a very merry revolution around the sun, Kathye! With your gift for words, I encourage you to share their birthday stories with your siblings. They may never say how much they like it, but they will!

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    • I have a nap, Roshan! I was snowed in last Saturday afternoon and enjoyed a much needed, deserved and welcome nap. My cat was in my lap so fast when I lay down, it was crazy… time to slow down for the yuletide now and enjoy this magical time of year.

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  2. Awh Audrey, this brought a tear to my eyes and it reminds me that I do this to my girls every year for their birthday and never realized, maybe they really are listening and taking it all in and so I will continue to tell them & I will listen just a bit more intently when my Mom tells me about the day I was born. Happy (late) birthday my friend…..

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    • Brenda, I’ll bet your girls are listening to their birthday stories because let’s face it – we all love to hear stories about ourselves. They just may not realize how precious that story is, though now they are mothers themselves, I’ll bet they do have some inkling. Don’t stop telling the stories!

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  3. Happy Birthday. I never heard my birth story, my mom died when I was 4. I’m so happy for you that your sister could share her memory with you. How heart-warming. Family is precious. Peace and joy, Brenda

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