On the day you were born nothing went according to my plan.
I had read What to Expect When You are Expecting.
I had dog-eared the pages.
I was prepared.
Let’s do this. Let’s gather together and welcome my daughter into this world.
My brother-whom you definitely would want by your side in any emergency situation-was by mine, as was my mother, and my dad until things got bad.
And they did, get bad.
We were known as the miracle birth, because we were both so close to death. I remember the nurse standing on a stool squeezing IV fluid into me . . . fast.
I was cold, so very cold.
I remember the doctor, shouting, “Bring me the baby! She needs to see her daughter!”
He was not my original OBGYN, but a stranger, because we needed-or so it seemed- every available doctor to bring you into this world.
Only you could not come to me; you too were in trouble.
I remember my mother, going from my bed where they were assisting me, to where they were working on you.
It was quiet. Very quiet.
There was no baby crying from a slapped bottom, not like you see in the movies. Just two teams of hospital staff. One working on you, the other on me with my mother torn between her daughter and her grand daughter.
I remember tears. Not my own, but tears splashed on the lenses of mother’s glasses.
Helpless tears of a Mother who was watching two souls quickly fade.
And aren’t they all helpless tears?
I have often reflected on this separation between us, of a mother and her child which occurred at birth. And I have tried to swim across the distance. I could not reach you then and now that you are eighteen I know it will be a while before I can reach you in the future. And today, I cry.
I cry because I miss my mother.
I cry because you miss your grandmother.
I cry because I wish we had a few more months so she could see you reach this milestone age, graduate high school, go to college. I cry because I have failed on so many levels, all while trying to do my very best. The emotion is uncontrollable, perhaps eighteen years worth of pent-up worry, concern, prayers, fear, bundled with this responsibility called Motherhood is cascading down my face on this the eighteenth anniversary of the day you were born.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches; Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. A Hardscrabble Christmas. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. Order signed copies or, email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com. She welcomes new friends on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter Here.