My birthdays and N's have been and always will be intertwined for me, being that it was on my 37th birthday (January 24) that I began my prelabor with N, who was ultimately born on the 26th.
Today he is 8. That just floors me.
My BIL took us out last night for dinner to celebrate N's special day*; we went to a restaurant (diner, actually) of N's choosing. While there, Em started reminiscing about what was going on eight years earlier; she was 3-and-a-half, and clearly remembers a lot of the next few days, though mostly from that preschooler's perspective of all the presents she got, and how Uncle stayed with her while Baroy was with me in the hospital, and how Uncle introduced her to too-old-for-her cartoons on Nickelodeon, and how my friend Cara put French braids in her hair, which I could never do. Stuff like that.
Baroy and I added our own recollections; mine involved Ambre walking me around the Glendale Galleria on my birthday and feeding me spicy Thai food to try to get things going, and my friend Cara, who was to be my doula, being in the middle of an IEP for a child at her school (yes, I do recognize the irony) and begging me to hold on until she could get out of her meeting and drive the three hours to my house to help me through. I then moved on to memories of walking circuits around my house, trying to get through the contractions in the bathtub, the hellish ride to the hospital in full-on labor, oxygen tubes up my nose and an ungentle anesthesiologist.
Baroy's memory? The fact that my young, cute female obstetrician wore a thong under her scrubs, a fact that became glaringly obvious when she bent over to examine me. I can't say as I blame him; it's been an image burned into my memory ever since, even though I was on the other end. What freaks me out the most is that I can't remember her name, which is especially odd since I knew her for a while, and saw her a lot both as a patient and because I worked in PR at the university where she practiced, and we were on a first-name basis. When I say my memory is going, I do not kid.
And then there is today, the day he finally came out, an emergency c-section after a failed vbac, a couple of hours in the NICU due to some really crummy apgars, and then the World's Easiest Infant, who nursed like a champ, slept through the night at four months of age (and by through the night I mean falling asleep as soon as his body hit a mattress, and staying that way for seven-plus hours), and quietly smiled his way through his first 18 months. At which point something went off like a switch inside him, and he found his personality and became the amazing, quirky, challenging, adorable, absolutely unique kid he is today, the child who defines auditory sensory defensiveness--hiding under the table with his hands clamped over his ears when the waiters at the restaurant sang "Happy Birthday" while serving the cake my BIL had brought--but who later gave the same waiters a thumbs-up, saying, "Peace out, dude!" and leaving them all laughing and shaking their heads as he swaggered out the door.
That's my boy. That's my eight-year-old boy.
*FYI, in case you think I'm wholely selfless and have let my birthday be absorbed entirely by my son, I was duly feted on Saturday, the actual day of my birth, when we went out to dinner with a group of friends from our synagogue while the oldest child, who is 15, babysat the youngers, who are 7 and up; there were drinks and food even an awesomely cool present for me (mine's the Tie-dye-tini), which I totally wasn't expecting. It was much fun.