I find it extra poignant that 3 of the blog authors I follow had birthdays this week. Poignant because I've been mentally preparing to write a birthday post for months. My boy, my most loyal and steadfast friend, Hunter, turns 13 on March 10th. There were many times I thought he wouldn't make it this far, but he seems as healthy as ever today, other than peeing the bed and needing to be carried down the stairs every morning. So, I plan to do a summary of all the fun we've had together over the past decade which will mostly highlight all of the times he's put his life in danger. It'll probably be one of those super long posts that nobody reads, but it will make me feel good to have it all out there so I can remember him when he's gone.
In preparation for this effort, I dug out a note my mom wrote me on my 16th birthday. I've transcribed the contents below, so that I can remember her words forever even though a few of them make me more than a little self conscious. I sure hope I wasn't a breech birth! There was one misspelling of "Jaber" which I corrected, and a missing period at the end of the last sentence, otherwise the text and punctuation are unedited.
For anyone reading this who doesn't know, my mother passed away in July 1995 after a long battle with breast cancer. Jaber is my middle name and was also my paternal grandfather's first name.
November 7, 1990
Dear David Jaber,
Happy 16th birthday! I remember well the morning you decided to enter this world. We were living at 5861 Tulane Street in San Diego, where Daddy was chief resident at University Hospital. One of the residents and his wife were leaving San Diego to take a fellowship elsewhere, and I decided they should have a going away party. So I invited all our friends over for dinner on November 6, 1974. I was rather large, having gained about 30 pounds, but you were not due for another two weeks. I stayed on my feet all day long cooking and cleaning. I remember making moussaka but I don't remember the rest of the menu. Everyone came, ate, and had a good time. Of course, I had to stay up late cleaning up the mess.
During the night I awoke with twinges of pain. I couldn't sleep any longer so I got up, finished cleaning up, took out the garbage, made a cup of tea, and packed a bag for the hospital because by then I was pretty sure that this was the real thing. I had waked Daddy when I first woke up, but he was not impressed and thought I was just having false labor, so I let him sleep. Finally the pains were coming closer and stronger, so I woke him again and said I thought we should get to the hospital. This time he was impressed. In the car I began feeling truly uncomfortable and nauseated, so when we reached the hospital, I went to the bathroom hoping to throw up while he was checking me in. A concerned nurse came looking for me because she thought I might deliver in the bathroom.
They rushed me to the labor area and decided they did not have time to prep me so they rolled me to the delivery room. We had planned for you to be born at University Hospital, where Daddy worked, but my doctor, James Lambert, had not had time to apply for delivery privileges there so we had to go to Mercy Hospital, where Dr. Lambert usually delivered babies. Actually you and I were lucky because Mercy was a much nicer, more luxurious hospital. Because you were two weeks early we did not have time to get a pediatrician to the delivery so Daddy asked a fellow, Marge who happened to be around, to stand in the doorway in case there were any problems.
But there weren't any problems. You were born in about 20 minutes or so without my having time to request any anesthesia. As you were on your way out, Dr. Lambert said, "It looks like a girl." Oh no, I thought to myself while panting and groaning, that means I'll have to have another baby to satisfy Teta Maria and Sido Jaber. But then Dr. Lambert pulled you all the way out (or did you push yourself all the way out?) and discovered that you were all male. I was so happy and relieved!
You were born at 8:43 a.m., very convenient for the doctor. You weighed seven pounds, seven ounces, and measured 19 1/2 inches long. Your hair, like most babies, was black and your eyes were blue. Your hair later became brown but your eyes remained a gray/blue. Both Daddy and I were delighted with your arrival because we felt our little family was now complete. One of my college friends later wrote and welcomed me to the "Smug Club," made up of mommies who were lucky enough to have a child of each sex.
Another very special day was the day you were baptised at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego. It was very important to Teta Maria and Sido Jaber that you be baptised in the Eastern Orthodox Church because you were the male child who would carry on the family name. It was a complicated ceremony, but Teta Maria knew just what to do, and she helped me to get things right. You needed to have a white outfit that had never been worn before and a white towel that had never been used before. Fortunately I could provide both. On January 11, 1975, we took you to St. Spyridon, danced around the altar with incense swinging, and dipped you three times into a large urn filled with water. You behaved beautifully.
We were lucky that day and lucky we have been for sixteen years to have a son like you: sweet (most of the time) intelligent (all of the time) attractive (when you use your pimple medicine) honest, loyal, hardworking, conscientious, polite and basically good. I have always felt that God just lent you to me, and I have tried to raise you according to His principles. I am very proud of the young man you are today (except for this car/stereo madness!) Most of all, I love you very much, and I look forward to sharing many more happy birthdays with you.
Love and kisses,