birthday present


my mother and my grandmother shared a birthday.

i say shared but the family story is that Mid, my grandmother, did not like sharing her birthday with her daughter. it could be that she didn’t think that spending her birthday labouring and straining and finally in agony and shit and blood producing a squalling, dependent infant was much fun.

what, no cake?

the truth is, i don’t know what she really thought. was she sullen every time august 6th rolled around, knowing she’d have to produce some kind of kids’ party with balloons and hats and usually some hair-pulling over who got to ride the pony first (was there ever a pony?) and why must the cake be homemade in the heat of summer and look, oh great that kid in corner is barfing up, probably the cake. next year…next year she probably rolled up her sleeves and did it again.  put on a party for her daughter, i mean.

but Mid might have liked it, that’s possible too, family story not withstanding. it’s just possible that Mid said once in jest, oh i hate sharing my birthday with you, my daughter my love, and when she said it she swung her daughter high up in the air and then held her close in her arms and they both laughed and knew that Mid was joking. the best birthday present that Mid ever received was the gift of a daughter, delivered right on time, no ‘sorry i missed your birthday’ card was required. that might have been it.

but i’ll never know. Mid died before i was born, during the time my mother was pregnant with me, and my mother died 9 years ago. their stories are mostly gone.  i am left guessing, and remembering what i can.