Mother’s Day, Baby!


My son took his dear, sweet time coming into the world 22 years ago today. It happened to be Mother’s Day that year as well.

‘What a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day gift!’ says almost every woman who hears the story.

They must not remember what labor feels like.

Matthew was my second child. My first was born when I was 18 years old. At that age, I didn’t have the sense to arrange for an epidural in advance. Instead, I opted for ‘natural childbirth’. How hard could it be? Women on television came through it unscathed ALL. THE. TIME.

So, I essentially spent 12 hours screaming like an animal caught in a trap. They were kind enough to give me Demerol, which only served to knock me out between contractions. In case you were wondering, the absolute worst way to wake up from a 1-minute nap is with a contraction.

It was a nightmare.

Needless to say, the moment I knew I was pregnant with Matthew, I made it clear to anyone who made eye contact with me that I was going to have an epidural at the first sign of pain. Unfortunately, my doctor was not on call the night I went into labor, so I was left with the only doctor in the practice with whom I had not had a chance to meet. Maybe he wasn’t a big believer in epidurals. Or maybe he just hated women. All I know is that it took way too long to get relief. I hate him to this day.

But I digress.

Matthew was not a pretty baby. It could have had something to do with the fact that he spent hours in the birth canal (his sense of urgency hasn’t improved much since then), so he came out with a cone head that rivaled anything Lorne Michaels ever conjured up. He had fair skin, red hair, and a long, skinny body.

When he was born, my first thought was ‘OMG, it’s a boy! I’m going to raise him right!’

That’s a lie. My first thought was actually, ‘Sweet Jesus! Thank GOD that’s over!’, immediately followed by ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE ONLY WEIGHS 8.6LBS?!?! WEIGH HIM AGAIN!!’

He was a good baby overall. Aside from a couple of croupy trips to the emergency room to be hooked up to a nebulizer, he was very healthy. He never even vomited or had an ear infection as a child. His only real fault was that he was, for all intents and purposes, nocturnal. It was not unusual to wake up in the middle of the night to find him watching TV in the family room. One morning, I woke up to find an empty pickle jar with a straw sticking out of it on the kitchen table.

ME: OMG, Matty, did you drink the pickle juice???

MATTY (rolling his eyes): It’s called ‘brine’, mom.

He was about four at the time.

From the time he could speak, he was my intellectual superior. When he was about six, he heard me use the phrase ‘blind as a bat’ and proceeded to tell me that, while bats have very poor vision, they are not technically blind. He went on to explain that they use a high-pitched series of pings called ‘echolocation’ to guide them. Or something like that.

I just stared at him and blinked. At that moment, I knew I didn’t stand a chance.

I can win an argument with just about anyone…except Matty. It’s a great source of frustration for me. In a twisted sort of way, it’s also a great source of pride. We don’t always see eye-to-eye (and by ‘don’t always’, I mean ‘almost never’), so there’s plenty of opportunity for him to pummel me in arguments.

We’re opposites in many ways. He’s diplomatic, I’m direct; he’s all logic, I’m all emotion; he’s a Democrat, I’m an American ;). He has my sense of humor and my appreciation for (obsession with?) good grammar, so there is definitely common ground.

He has a girlfriend now. They’ve been together for a year. By all accounts, I achieved my goal. He’s hard-working, polite, respectful, loyal and kind. He’s generous and considerate of her, and he’s even a bit of a romantic.

I raised that boy right.

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