I’m not sure how my parents decided on calling me “April.” I certainly don’t mind it, despite the jokes I receive during the month of my namesake. Beyond that slight annoyance, I think it’s a lovely name (Also, have you ever listened to Sun Kil Moon’s April – fucking beautiful). According to Mom & Dad, it was the only name they could agree on. If I were a boy, I would have been named Isaiah. Not after the prophet, but the basketball player.
The one question I receive the most, usually from middle aged men for some weird reason, is “were you born in April?” The answer to that question – is no. And thank God. How annoying would that be? I was born in May. Early May. Although, my due date was in April. Mid April.
I was born two and a half weeks “late.” And when I say born, I mean the doctors decided my Mom needed a c-section, because I was not coming out of there.
I read a lot into this story. Which is okay, I guess, because it’s how I came into the world. Something I am still aware was not of my own choosing.
When I was in middle school and high school, my favorite band was No Doubt. I wore their t-shirts, had their stickers on my binders and eventually my car. The height of my obsession probably came with their “Return of Saturn” album (2000).
“Re-read, re-write, redo, undo
I’m stuck on this page
I was born two weeks late
Is that why I hesitate?”
Hey, me too, Gwen! We have so much in common.
I can’t help but read so much into my birth story, because it all makes so much sense. From my beginning, I did not want to leave the womb. I was very comfortable there. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to live, I just didn’t want to be born. And from that moment, I’ve been stubborn and pissed off. That is not an exaggeration.
This has been my take on the situation. For the last *almost* thirty-one years. (Jesus that number hurts to think about)
But I read an article/blog post this week that is giving me another perspective. Not a happier or more hopeful one, I should note. But a significant one, nonetheless.
The article, titled “Three Truths About C-Section Mamas” – is about just that. Three truths about c-section mamas. And those truths are:
1. C-Section mamas are brave.
2. C-Section mamas are strong.
3. C-Section mamas are beautiful.
Read the full blog post here. It’s wonderful.
I did not need this article to inform me that my Mom is brave, strong, and beautiful. It was just a beautiful reminder.
But, after reading this spectacular blog article thing, I have mostly come away feeling so very sad for my Mom.
Thirty-one years later and I am still tearing her apart.
In order to live, they had to cut my Mom open. It took her weeks of bed rest to resurface and pick me up again (in this time I attached closely to my Grandma, who never did any wrong as far as I was concerned).
I have become keenly aware, over the last several years, that the one thing my parents want in life is for me to be safe, secure, and happy. And probably in that order. (I don’t know what they want for their own lives, but whatever it is, it is secondary to what they want for me, for better or for worse.) This is not to say they aren’t concerned with my happiness, I think they just see the first two objectives as predecessors. I, however, know that not to be true. I just want to be happy (only because I have that luxury, being a Millennial and all).
In my pursuit of happiness, I have abandoned safety and security, when necessary. I think a lot of us do. Especially those of us with choices and options. And so, I do not have a job that my Mom can rest assured about. I decided I was better off doing a multitude of jobs, some paid and some unpaid, for the flexibility and freedom to do work I believe in. I do feel like I should be more settled into a career at this point in my life. But as my birth story suggests, I have fallen behind. This, I know, is really tough on her. She kept me warm and safe for as long as she could. And now I have decided that warmth is a luxury I can live without, if need be (I mean this literally – I once had a fish die because I refused to turn the heat on in my home and the water temperature dropped too low).
To add fuel to the flame, I have recently “come out” .. or whatever – I really don’t like the terms associated with LGBT life. This news was revealed to Mom and Dad in a heart-wrenching speaker-phone conversation a couple of years ago. Not surprisingly, my Mom was brave, and strong, and beautiful in her response. They will always love me. They just want me to be safe, secure, and happy. Being in a gay relationship compromises my safety and security, go figure, but they do want me to be happy. I am fortunate. I am immensely thankful for the support I received from them, and for the ways they embraced my partner. But it turns out, “coming out” to them individually, and “coming out” altogether, are two entirely different things. The latter is a bit tougher to brave through. My Mom is still working on that one (and my Dad too, actually). I am, once again, cutting through her – making Motherhood even more challenging and difficult.
And to make matters all the worse, I decided I needed to move thousands of miles away (Google tells me it’s 2,133 miles to be exact). This seems counter-intuitive. I don’t know how to translate this when looking through the lens of my birth story. I held on so tight. I clung for so long. And then I left as far as I possibly could while staying in the country. All I can make of it is that I am predictably unpredictable. And I don’t know what I want. These truths remain.
Another truth remains – I love my Mom to pieces. I cling to her tightly. Thousands of miles away and I still think of her just about every minute of every day. (If I lived closer, would I think of her less?)
I feel truly awful for the things I put my Mom through, from birth to this very day. I absolutely and completely wish that things could be different – mostly, that I could be different. But deep down I know that I am her daughter, through and through. I moved thousands of miles away, knowing no one, because I knew it was what I needed to do to survive life in this shitty world. I am brave. I know that by choosing a life that is authentic to who I am, and loving who I love even though it makes life infinitely more difficult than the alternative, takes strength. I am strong. The scars I have from failing to be a perfect and loveable daughter are deep. The scars my Mom holds from failing to love and accept me just as I am also run deep. The nature of being a daughter is to disappoint. The reality of being a Mother is disappointing. Scars are given and scars are left. And I think once we accept them from both ends, something beautiful happens. We are beautiful.
The way we try so hard for one another makes us beautiful.
And the thing is, we don’t even have to try at all.
Beneath the scars we have given each other, we love each other just as we are. I just know it.
shitty scan of my baptism – but aren’t my Mom & Dad so rad!