What I tried to accomplish for J.D.’s birthday seems to maybe have worked this time. Today is Emma’s day, and she dragged me out of the house this afternoon, in search of free food. I’ll tell you all about that after you’ve read these posts I just (successfully!) transported from the archives. Straight from our History Quilt, here is what I wrote about my baby girl the past three years. The first one was titled:
No pain, no gain.
On March 30, 1989 I gave birth to my third and last child. She was a bonus, a surprise, and a treasure. We have been grateful for her since the day she got here. She also put us in to a rare and special category. With her delivery, I had completed my third emergency cesarean section. (What are those odds?) All three were different medical conditions, none relating to each other.
Her brother, our first foray into parenthood, was just huge. No other reason he couldn’t be born normally other than he had been in there for ten months and was too enormous for even a large woman to have birthed him (and I am so not a large woman). Her sister was in such a hurry that she threw me into a condition called “failure to progress” – she was ready but I wasn’t. But this final wonder of genetics just curled up in her cozy spot and threatened to take all of my insides out with her. It’s called a “placental abruption,” and it’s never good. I did not have a labor pain, an ache, nor even a twinge. They just wheeled me off, once again, for a quick (emergency, stat!) baby extraction out the top. (Insert cliched line about a zipper here.)
The bizarre thing about all of these experiences, is that, had we not all been here, availed to modern medical knowledge, each and every one could/should have killed me. (And not so many years ago, these conditions DID kill pregnant women, by the boat load.) But no, we all survived. We all thrived, learned, grew, and now have aged.
Happy Birthday Empress, and thank you.
And then there is this one, from 2009, that I called:
Teen No More.
I no longer have any children. Only adults, that I have given birth to. My baby turned 20 today. She is a gorgeous young woman, and the most compassionate human I have ever met. Just ask Harley and Max. She really should be an Empress.
Happy Birthday Emmy, I love you so much. And no matter how tall, or how old, you get, you will always be my wonderful bonus baby.
(The reference to Harley, if you have not read through the past three years, pertains to the hospice foster dog Emma took care of, and extended the life of, entirely through her compassion and love. She gave him a gift, simply by being there, when he needed someone the most.)
Last year was, what her father calls, A Big Number year, and her sister was in town to help celebrate, and mark this very important milestone. Because this is my Empress, who was:
The Last Baby.
The girls and their father just headed out the door. The clock shows a few past midnight. This means that all of my children (who are no longer children, and haven’t been for a few years now) are all of legal drinking age. Emmy turned 21 about ten minutes ago. Well, that certainly didn’t seem to take very long. How is it that so many years go by so very fast? She received a new pair of roller blades today, the better to do her cardio exercise. I don’t suppose, like the last time she skated around the house when she was four or so, she will be naked.
Happy Birthday Empress, you are a wonderfully grand adult.
Okay, we are all current now, as of today, she’s 22. Emmy found out that she can get presents from restaurants all over town, all she has to do is show up. So we did that. At Denny’s today. Sadly, we didn’t remember to take a picture until she had already eaten most of her birthday meal.
Really, she said it was very good. And, ya know, free! We had a very nice young man serving us today, which is always so delightful, because as I may have mentioned, we can be slightly problematic (right, usually it’s me, whatever). Thank you Matteo, for being part of my beautiful daughter’s celebration. And thanks for making us a smoothie with no bananas.
Allow me to tell you one more thing about this girl, just to give you a hint as to her character. When she was in middle school she chose to be a teacher’s aide, in the Life Skills classes our district offers for students with special needs. She helped kids with all manner of disabilities, handicaps, and restrictions. She was there every day, standing at their sides, sitting with them as they learned and struggled and were challenged at every level. She supported their triumphs and held their hands. She became such a part of their lives that they would invite her to their own birthday parties. We’d run across parents all over town who would come up to me, saying thank you, telling me about how much it meant to them, and to their children, to have Emmy there.
Here’s the perfect example, we were in the lobby of our library one day and one of her friends from this class came charging up to us. Sarah was a big girl with many issues, and one of the sweetest dispositions. Her mother went to apologize for her overly excited greeting to my daughter. Em and I both said, oh please don’t worry about it, she’s fine, we are glad to see her too!
The girls stepped off to the side and chatted, Sarah’s mom turned to me, and with tears in her eyes, she began to speak about how much of a difference Emma had made in her child’s life. How compassionate my baby was, and how gently understanding she always seemed with Sarah and the other students. It made me cry too, because I knew this about my daughter, but I had never realized what a treasure she was in all of these other lives as well.
At that point we heard a commotion, and saw that Sarah was going in to a seizure. Empress had helped her to the floor, where they both sat now, their arms around each other. Em keeping her hand on Sarah’s head and whispering to her that she’d be okay. Sarah’s mother rushed over, but through her uncontrollable movements, this large child tried to wave her mom away. Her speech was slurred but we understood her, “no. I’m fine. Emma’s here with me.”
(Wait, I have to stop and get a kleenex, this story makes me cry every damn time. She was like 12 at the time!)
So, yeah. THIS is my youngest child. THIS is my baby girl. She is now a full grown adult, with a new home, an adorable little dog, and a future that knows no bounds. When I said, the past few years here, that she is the most compassionate and caring person I have ever met, I was telling you the truth. Her brother and sister showed me a way to love that I could never have understood until they were born, but this girl, this young woman, has a heart that loves and cares limitlessly. It’s been a burden for her at times and she’s had to learn some tough lessons being this empathic. For those of us who have been blessed to spend time in her presence, we cannot imagine a life without her.
We have a card from our Special Occasion deck to mark my baby girl’s special day. Emmy, thank you, more than you know, for choosing us as your family. Enjoy your father’s cake tonight and know how very much you are adored. Happy Happy Birthday!
“Cassowary ~ Respect.
One creature or another occupies every square inch of our Earth Mother. The moment we leave our space, we step into that of another. We become their visitor, invited or not. When we drink from a stream or pick fruit from a tree, we are sharing this source of nourishment with other creatures. We share the air we breathe, the warmth of the sun, the refreshing breeze of the four winds, and the rain that falls from the sky, with every other living thing on this Earth.
We have to honour this life to the utmost. We have to look at every lesson that is presented as being more important than the last. We have only one Earth and it is up to us to honour the space we inhabit while we are here.
When Cassowary appears we are being asked to address our sense of Sacred Space and the way in which we treat the Sacred Space of others. If we honour and respect our space, others will learn to respect theirs, and if we honour the space of others, they will learn to respect ours.
It is okay to refuse the inappropriate or interfering ways of others. Our Sacred Space is our territory and we have the right to feel safe within it. Our home and everything associated with it; our possessions, our body, our feelings, our values and beliefs can all be viewed as Sacred Spaces, and just as a wild animal will only allow other animals who instinctively respect territorial boundaries to enter their Sacred Space, we are encouraged by the Dreaming of the Cassowary to follow suit.
It is not important what others think of you. How you view yourself is what counts. You have to live with yourself and to feel proud of how you go about doing it.
Cassowary says that in order to attract respect it is vital to radiate self-respect, to show pride in your achievements, to radiate self-worth and to adopt and mirror the favourable qualities of the people that are drawn to you, rather than focusing on their negative traits.”