Sacred Spaces

Birthday Presence

Today is my middle son’s birthday, and mine. For the past couple of months, my husband has been asking me what I want for my birthday, but I haven’t been able to provide him with any useful ideas, because here’s the deal: 

When you’re given a WHOLE PERSON—who was instantly and from then to now increasingly one of your favorite people in the world—for your 30th birthday, you’re pretty much good to go after that. It’s the best birthday present, the renewable one, the eternal one. Nothing else compares, at all. Happy birthday to me for the rest of my life. 

That day, as today, was gorgeously sunny, even though we lived then in the Pacific Northwest and not yet here in Austin. I woke up in the morning with my first child, my little buddy of a two year old, and kissed my husband goodbye as he drove off to work in our only vehicle. We were living in a 100-square foot cottage, out in the woods, on my parents’ property. I was obnoxiously pregnant, overdue, wondering—but not impatiently—when this natural childbirth baby would decide to make his entrance. My oldest son and I read books together. We took a nap. I started to make him a meal, and then I felt the first twinges of contractions, and looked at the clock. 

Two hours and forty minutes later, happily timed between lunch and dinner, early enough to allow the doctor to attend his son’s baseball game, I was cradling my middle son in my arms. My dad ate the birthing center meal, a combination of soft meat and mashed potatoes, his favorite. 

Fast forward to today, and my birthday buddy middle son is graduate schooling from home due to coronavirus accommodations. Family and friends have showered us with virtual love. And the magnolia tree in our back yard produced its first blossom of the season today, on a branch bent directly over our late dog Rosie’s gravesite. 

Anne Lamott says there are three types of prayers: Help, Thanks, and Wow. Mine today is a combination of the last two.