There are a lot of sucky things about divorce. But the one that sneaks up on you, the one you don't expect, is that the awkward and uncomfortable of the whole thing colors your memories. Even the good ones. This means that your biggest, brightest, glow-in-the-dark days can get sort of gray and irritating.
I have three spectacular glow-in-the-dark days. There may be more, but these are the ones I'd lay down my life to keep shining.
I'll bet you know what they are.
The third of them happened just over five years ago. I woke up that morning calm, relaxed, and uncomfortable in a house full of boxes and the scent of fresh paint. It was 5:30 a.m. The sun was rising. It was peaceful and quiet, and I was roughly the size of a sperm whale with cankles that could sink the Titanic.
Six hours later, my redhead was born.
And no, it wasn't all peace and joy. I blew two IVs. I chewed out the nurse when some goober started delivering lunch on the floor, like 10 rooms away. You've heard of supertasters, right? When I'm in labor, I'm a supersmeller. And that lunch smell that no one else noticed, it made me want to hurl.
I also distinctly remember about 30 seconds of absolute panic when I realized that the ginormous child my midwife's assistant had told me was at least 11 pounds was actually coming out, like now, and I'd decided not to get an epidural and WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING, at which point my midwife did the mental equivalent of a face slap. Meaning, she shouted at me. Yes, at me, a woman in labor. Who does that? But it worked, and my redhead was in my arms, wet and squirmy and bright red all over, not 10 minutes later.
The rest of it, though - all of it - that was peace and joy. It was my daughter in her gymnastics leotard with sparkly clips in her hair because that's what she wanted that day. It was my son, going with the flow and heading off cheerfully with his grandparents (which is a bigger deal than you might think, given his attachment to routine). It was my kids holding their baby brother, and my now ex holding me while my redhead eased his way into the world.
And I don't want that to be bitter, or even bittersweet. I want the birth of my third child, and the births of all of my children, to glow.
To hell with the sucky part. I'm keeping this one.
Happy birthday, peanut.