Its Einstein’s birthday today and I take that as a very good sign. I am willing myself to be in a good mood. Refusing to be scared, despite the voice in my head.
I’ve decided it is my kindly grandfather talking to me from, well, wherever dead grandfathers are. I was so fond of him; he was my touchstone growing up. He was utterly sensible and interminably serious about many things. Methodical, determined, precise and hard working. But he also had a wicked laugh. He laughed so hard sometimes he lost his breath. He turned red with joy, usually at something very silly. For me, usually, he was the voice of reason. And this voice is definitely a male, serious and kind. So, instinctively I trust him, this voice. And today he is warning me the seas are about to get rough. He keeps saying, over and over, “It’s about to get hard, but you will all be fine.” Over and over. Like a mantra.
It’s possible I am literally stir crazy. I know how it sounds as I write this – my dead grandfather telling me to trust my very real inner voice. But it’s getting us through somehow, and we are really navigating these waters in the pitch black. So no one knows exactly how this is supposed to be done, this whole ‘go on bed rest and wait and see if your baby survives’ thing. But I know I’ve been right more than all the professionals we’ve seen, or at least he has. It’s not that these doctors are wrong, it’s just that we are not following their rules – their scientifically determined laws. Those same laws I have put my faith in time and time again in my life. When we do follow them we are the 1%, or the one hundredth of a percent. The outlier. The one case they can’t quite explain.
The doctors have stopped saying “In 99% of cases…” because we have so far not once been in that 99%. At some point down the line I hope I have an opportunity to reflect on the fact this is somehow telling of your future personality. It’s possible I will have quite a job on my hands being your mother.
So. Today, on Einstein’s birthday, I am refusing to be worried that I have some mild cramping. The nurse isn’t too worried, she has felt my tummy and put the monitor on and is satisfied I am not in labour. But a doctor is coming by just in case in a few hours. Instead of being worried about it, I am reflecting on this, my favourite Albert Einstein quote while I wait for your Dad to bring me some Thai food for dinner and watch our favourite TV show;
“Instinct and emotion will always overwhelm logic and reason.”
I like it because it’s so unlike me, and so unlike a scientist to say it. But I’ve learned this past month about the value of following instincts. I’ve learned to trust you. So, if it gets hard, we will cope with it together. That’s what my instinct is telling me. My logic, it appears, deserted me some time ago in this caper. In this instance I choose you – I choose to believe in you. I am all in.
Your birthday is always a hard day. It is a reminder of the day you entered the world with an explosion of possibility. But it is also the anniversary of the day I failed you. It’s not an easy thing to remember. Like the first time someone tells you your child will not survive – or the second, or third, or fourth. Or the moment you lost count of the number of times a doctor told you to expect your daughter to die. It never really goes away. So while I celebrate wholeheartedly the day you completed our family I also count my blessings that we made it this far. And I remind myself each year not to forget to listen to my instincts, for they are truly invaluable to a parent.
On your birthdays each year I write both you and your brother a letter. It’s my little tradition for you both, something I can give you that is far more relevant at any stage of life than a simple gift. This year I want you to know this; I can’t tell you, ever, how you have changed our lives. But I will always be proud of every minute of your life. The ups and the downs, the beginnings and the ends, the pros and the cons, the strengths and the weaknesses. You’ve shown me what real strength is, what can be achieved when you have nothing but fight to give. It’s such a joy to be on this journey with you, to see you change every day into a force of nature that will one day do something truly breathtaking. I sense a perfect storm in you – and to quote Dr Seuss, kid, you’ll move mountains. 98 ¾% guaranteed.