Number 4

I don’t hold up my birthday much, I mean as it being something precious.

Somewhere around 26, I stopped tallying up the years.

I thought: I earned my degree. I’m past any restriction for driving, voting, drinking. I work full time. I’m exploring friendships with people in their 2nd and 3rd life chapters. Who cares how old I am?

So much have a glossed over my birthday, that, when asked, I need to pause to figure out my age.

Yeah, I am not immune to the blank stares.

Well, this 29 January is different.

See, this is my first birthday without either of my parents, without my Mum.

And since about 4 this morning, I have been remembering stories about this day. But not as it pertains to me (big baby, blue eyes, tuff of hair) but more having to do with my parents, right before me.

What they were doing. What they were feeling. Where they were.

It was a Friday.

The doctor asked my Mum when she wanted to have me. She said: How about Friday?

So, Friday morning, she and my dad drove 25 minutes to the women’s maternity wing, whilst the boys were being looked after by Mrs. McCracken. Who was to become one of my Godmothers.

It all reads, I don’t know. Easy? Relaxed? Orchestrated?

By noon, that family of 5 became my family of 6. With one more to follow the next year.

Can you imagine 5 kids?

Crazy. But it’s what they wanted from the day they met.

I became their Number 4.

I am, right now, the only person here who was there on that Friday, January 29th, at 11:46am.

And knowing that makes me the sole witness to the day my parents had a baby girl. Their only daughter.

This new first has given my birthday a depth that it has not known before.

As my friend Charlie said the other day: The first year of firsts is tough.

I prepped for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This one, however, fell right on top of me.

I’ve had to come to terms with not hearing my Darling Papa tell me my birthday story, as he did every year … about how he knew about me right before the nurse came in and told him about me.

Yeah, he wasn’t in the room. My Mum kicked him out. No kidding. So he had to be collected from the waiting area.

My dad loved telling me that story. I loved hearing it. He was reading Time Magazine at that moment …

Only, where once I waited for my Dad to ring to share his waiting room epiphany, I now tell it to myself.

Now I will have to do the same for my Mum.

Just not sure where to begin really.

So I’m going to get myself together. Head out for a bit. Maybe go to the museum again to check out the other half of the exhibits.

Then I’m going to come back here, ring up Marty in Cardiff, so I can open his presents that have been waiting for today since last week.

Well, that’s the plan at least.

I’m lucky, my plans effortlessly flex with the uncertainty that is the Universe.

This doesn’t mean I’m wishy-washy. Far from it. Just means I’m game for an adventure.

That being said, there is one thing I do know for sure that will not bend today.

Today, and all day today, I will miss the sound of my parents’ voices.

Thank you Mum. Thank you Dad.

You are the unseen energy in the air I breathe.

I shall do my best to make this day unique and special, a bit like how the two of you evolved the likes of me.

Happy Sunday.

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