Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy birthday?

My birthday is such an ambivalent experience. Every year it's full of fragmented, terrible, involuntary memories of that day that I almost lost my son. Moments when I almost made the wrong decision -- the things that could have happened. The light I accidentally ran on the way to the hospital (did this make the difference?) -- guilt over the moments before I realized there was something wrong (how could I have taken him out to breakfast?) -- the conversation with Matt about the hospital -- the deep embarrassment that I was surely overreacting -- the terror of the trauma room -- the dimly remembered days of uncertainty -- my hands, strangely empty without him, on the back of the cold pews in the church down the street from the hospital. The taste of fear.

I can't quite escape it even now. I felt guilty about leaving Julie at day care today. Even though I know she is fine, I am irrationally worried about her. She wore the same coat to school that Thomas wore to the hospital three years ago. We have unseasonable cold weather just like that day. I shouldn't have let her out of my sight.

That way lies madness, and I know tomorrow will be fine.

Turning 30 doesn't make me feel any older. It's that 27th birthday that is still aging me.