When I had my babies, all of them, but especially the first, I could not, while sniffing their fuzzy heads and ogling their wrinkly fingers, even begin to fathom how they would look, smell, feel, act, or be on their tenth birthdays. I couldn’t even begin to grasp the idea of this tiny human, flesh of my flesh, being a big kid. A double-digits kid.
But now, I know. Because today, my baby is TEN. Years. Old.
Joshua is such a joy, and he always was. I sometimes find myself longing for the carefree days when he was a baby and a toddler, because he was SO easy, SO fun, SO portable, and always in a good mood. Bobby and I would take him everywhere. He was just a breeze. As much as I LOVE my other two, I can’t say I feel the same way about their babyhood. Joshua’s was honestly more play than work and if I could go back and do it again, I would. I know there will be other moments when I want to freeze my other kids (I think Sophie’s time might be this very year). For my sweet Joshua, even as he grows into a wonderful young man, I know it’s his babyhood I will miss the most.
But anyway. Here’s a story from his babyhood that I especially love, even though I wasn’t there when it happened. Joshua was born on February 27, 2004. But he was due the 25th. As it was a leap year, I was really anxious when his due date came and went, because I did NOT want to have a Leap Day baby. I would have been pleased, however if he’d been born on February 28th, because that is my oldest brother Charles’ birthday and my cousin Anna’s birthday – they are exactly 10 years apart. But neither the 28th or the 29th were to be, because on the 26th, I had a routine OB-Gyn appointment, and when I went in, my blood pressure was sky high. It had been fine my whole pregnancy, but now it was decidedly not fine. “You need to go to the hospital so we can induce you. You’re at risk of having a seizure. You can go home and grab your bag, but don’t stop for lunch.” my doctor told me. Well, ok. It was go time.
So I went in late in the afternoon of the 26th, and Joshua was born on February 27 at 9:00 a.m. exactly. Which as it turns out, is very fitting with his personality.
So he missed my brother’s birthday, and he missed Anna’s birthday, and thankfully he missed Leap Day.
But unbeknownst to be, he did arrive on another family birthday. And my mother, who witnessed his birth, knew it. It was her grandfather’s birthday. Taylor Dezarn, the father of my beloved Grandma Burns, my mother’s mother, was born on February 27, 1890.
I never knew him, but my mother has very fond memories of her grandfather, and it delighted her that my first child was born on his birthday (hers had been born just a day after!).
Which leads me to the story. My mom babysat Joshua when he was a baby until he was three years old, while I worked part-time 20 hours a week (did you know I used to do that?) One day, she and my Grandma Burns took Joshua to visit Grandma’s brother, my mom’s Uncle Neil and his wife Mae. The docile, sweet, portable infant Joshua was of course, an angel. And he was good for my Uncle Neil, about 81 or 82 at the time (he has since passed away) as he held him on his knee.
“How old is he?” he must’ve asked my mom, because she told him, “He was born on your father’s birthday.”
And then, an old man, holding a sweet young baby who was born 114 years to the day after his own father’s birth, got choked up, and his eyes filled with tears.
Memory, family, blood, and the circle of life. It’s a powerful thing.
And I am as proud now of the sweet young man I call my son at ten years of age as I was of the baby who brought joy to an old man nearly ten years ago. Who shares his birthday with someone I never met but who was dearly loved by those I dearly love.
Happy Birthday, Joshua Kenneth. Here’s to many more happy years (and many more happy tears) of being your mama. I love you!