I wrote this on Facebook tonight. What a blessing it is to forget.
Eleven years ago right now, I was drifting off on my very first overnight in a hospital, 22 hours later I would have a living child. 34 hours later we would chose for him: life or death with no guarantees of the former and plenty of opportunity for the latter. Eleven years ago, at this moment, on a Sunday night, I fell asleep on the precipice of the most precarious fall and meteoric bounce a mother could know.
In ten hours my son will wake up, eleven. He will begin a new year of his hard-earned life, and I will only pause for a breath, a blink, and remember the baby who became the boy that lived. My own magical miracle whose most extraordinary feature is how incredibly ordinary he is.
And I forgot his Fontanniversay, and I made it through most of April 12th forgetting that was the day he almost died, for the third time. I will barely remember tomorrow, as I buy my ticket for Muffins with Mom, and I browse the book fair, and I go about my business as an ordinary forty-year-old mom on her son’s eleventh birthday. I will barely remember being barely twenty-nine and gathering all the strength a mother can possess to bear the impossible risk for the ultimate reward.
This is my reward, forgetting, I will forget when I am done typing this. I will forget like a woman forgets her labor pains, I will forget the fight and let it rest like stones beneath the river, because we are eleven years and a lifetime beyond where we began. Because there were ten other birthdays that happened after, and there were smiles and laughs and joy, and there will be more, and I welcome it. So now I forget, not what I learned, but how much it hurt to learn it, and I will remember only the joy of his first cry and the smell of his soft skin, and I will celebrate my son’s birthday with none of my baggage and all of his joy.