"Spring Baby"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My mother was always proud I was her “spring baby.”

Born March 30 (I used to be an Aries), I do seem to come alive as the ground begins to thaw, and everything and everyone begins to emerge from their winter hibernation.

My partner, Gary – the avid gardener and his mother’s “summer baby,” born July 6 – also finds a new spirit as winter marches away.

When the last snows begin to wind down and the first Snow-drops begin to appear – their drooping white flowers attached to a stem of deep green – Gary begins to burrow into his beds, even though the final frost day is many weeks away. He will turn his face to the strengthening sun – like his flowers soon will do – and say into the heavens, “It’s nice to see you again, buddy.”

One of my first signs of winter’s end (when we're not out in Palm Springs) is a long run along the lakeshore. I run unencumbered – no earmuffs, no facemask, no longer worried about slipping on the ice – the air still cool but refreshing to my lungs. Many March days – before the Beach Coast resorters return – a few young deer will often prance alongside me in the woods as I run, sometimes for as long as a mile or two, excited kids happy to be able to play again outside with a new friend.

I, too, will call to them, as Gary does the sun: “It’s nice to see you again, guys!”

Every March birthday reminds me I’ve aged another year, but I welcome it because it also reminds me that it’s time – like nature – to grow again. It is a time of rebirth.

My birthday ritual always involved calling my mom to wish her a happy birthday, even though it was mine.

“I wouldn’t be here without you!” I’d yell, always believing that it is the mothers who really should be celebrated on birthdays, instead of the kids.

“My spring baby!” she’d always reply.

Now that my mother is gone, Gary planted a memorial garden in her honor. In the winter, it is covered by snow, save for the top of a cross that always peeks out from under the white. But, when the Snow-drops begin to bloom, I walk out and take a seat on a newly positioned Adirondack chair we perch next to my mom’s garden.

Even though there are March days when it’s still bitterly cold, or some where I have to brush the snow from the chair, I shut my eyes, lift my face to the sun – whether shining or hidden – and yell to heaven, “I wouldn’t be here without you!”

And the March wind, and all the happy birds will exclaim, in a voice I know is my mother’s, “My spring baby!”

I will smile, have the courage to stand, and continue to grow – be reborn again – as winter marches away.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As our Hispanic neighbors say down here in Texas, "Feliz cumpleanos!" (You'll have to supply the upside-down exclamation point before, and the tilde over the 'n' yourself.)

March 30, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Happy Birthday,Wade! I'm currently reading "It's All Relative", and enjoying your sense of humor. You have the gift of laughter. Thank you for sharing it.

March 30, 2011 at 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I am sorry your mother is gone. I liked her so much in your memoir.

Yes, she is smiling on you from heaven. I know it.

March 31, 2011 at 8:10 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

After being in labor for about 24 hours with my first and two weeks past my due date....my new motto is that Mothers should always be celebrated on the day of the birth of their children, no matter how many children they have. I love this and I bet your mom is so proud of her spring baby!

Happy Birthday!

April 7, 2011 at 4:46 PM  
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