Being born on a colorful holiday comes with both benefits and burdens. It's much easier to remember the birthdate, but the color green, in this case, will eternally paint celebrations of that "special day."
Chance played only a supporting role in determining this particular joyous event. The obstetrician would be available to deliver the wee bundle, but would then be out of town and her partner would be on call. Otherwise, the c-section could be scheduled for the following Monday. Friday, St. Patrick's Day of 2000, would be fine. "Fine" would not quite define the entire birthing experience but it was not a complete disaster, which is an acceptable situation in exchange for the cessation of a perpetual waddling gait and a firm discharge date. What I got was a beautiful baby boy and fifty percent of the rest of the deal. Five days in the hospital did not deter me from the determInation to make it the best bonding experience possible. I'd already arranged to bring in a featherbed from home to turn the ultra high-tech and ungodly uncomfortable ob bed into something worthy of a reservation, but perhaps not the royal nightly rate. Baby boy left the room only to be weighed, measured and examined by the doctor. He left my arms only to be cleaned up and diapered, which I did myself.
These thoughts came back to me today as I asked the teenage boy what kind of cake he wanted. "Chocolate," was the short answer. Green frosting is a given. No longer does he specify Angry Birds, dinosaurs, Spiderman, etc. No more pressure to produce commercial-quality birthday cakes in my kitchen. The dinosaur land cake with molten frosting lava is never to be reincarnated. The leprechuan kayaker, paddlng down the green waterfall, rests in a drawer somewhere, likely crackng with age. The green deely-boppers get hauled out once a year, for posterity, and he indulges me with a photo pose or two.
Other pressures linger and have, at times, intensified. It has been a dozen years since that first conversation with a pediatrician that began, "I don't think he's talkng as much as he should be." It took a number of those conversations, and much more adamance on my part, before bland reassurances became referrals to specialists. It has been a long road, the end of which may never be within sight. Maybe it's really more of a river--one that runs through alphabet soup diagnoses. ADHD, CAPD, SID, ASD, and in recent years, Tourette's. His grades are great. Social life, not so much.
Though I try to do right by him, Colin's mom, on Facebook, recently put me to shame. On the other hand, what does one do with over a million birthday cards? He's happy with a handful or so...and 14 candles on a green birthday cake.