June 22, 1969. The date of my birth. I weighed 6 pounds 6 ounces and was born in Mexia, Texas. I don’t remember much about those first days of life…I have to rely on my mom’s failing memory to piece it all together, since my dad passed away when I was only 9.
My mom began to hemorrage after leaving the hospital with me and was re-admitted so her life could be saved. I spent most of those first days being held by my dad and sister, eldest daughter from my father’s first marriage. They took turns caring for me and visiting my mom in the hospital. Neither one had ever cared for a newborn and because of this, they fed me formula straight from the can, without mixing with water. I didn’t wake up to eat again for almost 12 hours, I’m told. My six older brothers mostly just watched from a distance. It wasn’t until I was older and less “breakable” that they were comfortable holding me.
I grew up surrounded by a very loving, though now it seems disconnected, family. We were spread all over the state of Texas by the time my dad died. I say disconnected because even when we were close in proximity, there was a distance in our relationships.
And I honestly don’t know why I’m even telling you this. Except that I want it recorded, maybe. The older I get, the more I realize that my childhood was not the perfect one I remembered. It’s days like today that I reflect back on my past and I realize with crystalline clarity that all was not as it seemed. My mother was very good at hiding her emotions and putting on a brave face, while I am not. Which is better? I cannot say. Sometimes I wish mom would have shared more with me…but when does sharing your circumstances become too much? I am pretty sure I would rather be more like my mother. I always felt safe and although we never had money, I felt taken care of. I never worried about how the light bill would be paid, my mom never shared the day to day concerns with us kids. I so wish I was more like that. I tell myself I am doing the right thing with our kids…like I was, they are happy and well cared for. Right now, we don’t have money for the extras in life, but I know we will one day, and I don’t want them to ever forget what it was like in the beginning.
So back to the beginning…today is the day of my birth. I am thankful that God allowed me to draw breath. I am thankful for my husband, who is loving and supportive and the head of our home. I am thankful for my children, who bring light and joy to a mother’s heart. I am thankful for my Savior, who was wounded for my transgressions…who looked way down into eternity and saw my face and even though He knew I would never be worthy, He gave His life anyway…so I wouldn’t have to.
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