John Michael prefers to call it his birthday, and because I’m a mother, I let him. I even give him the presents and the cake and the candles. I don’t need them anyway. The thrill of the anniversary is better when it’s kept inside – like a secret. Like the feeling I had when I was pregnant that first time. I knew there was something wonderful in there, something almost magic. It was a miracle, and I was part of it.
Then – four days after it was supposed to – the magic really happened. Ten fingers, ten toes – and I got to take home all of them. This was the coolest door prize ever. It took a day or so to feel really truly connected to it. But by the next morning, I was calling it him. I missed him when he was out of the room with the nurses. And as my friends Den and Andrea so poetically described it once, when I left the hospital with him, I kept turning around, looking for the parade. It seemed there should have been one. Hadn’t the whole world stopped when he cried that first time?
I will never forget what I wrote in those first few days at home with those fingers and toes, that smooth baby skin, those tiny blue clothes . . .
if I never do anything else in my life, I will have been great because of him.