It was hot, steaming hot, one of the hot, hot summers that made you want to join a nudist colony. It was record-breaking heat, the kind where you can see the heat waves and air circulation was absent. The kind we remember for a long, long time to come.
Summer 1988 in Chicago was that oppressive, stifling, sweaty season where no relief was in sight.
I was pregnant, big pregnant, huge, actually. My ex-husband and I lived in a third-floor walk-up in Oak Park. We had a huge living room with hard wood floors that even held onto the hot. I would walk up the stairs after work, his job to pick up my older son, at the time a toddler of 20 months, and literally start stripping at the door. We moved a futon into the living room to be closer to the air conditioner, I couldn't take the bedroom anymore. We pretty much wore shorts and ts around the house. Unbearably hot and my huge, huge stomach on my skinny skinny frame couldn't get cooled off enough. Such was the weather when the heavens opened up!
One morning, literally on Labor Day, I went into labor. We dropped my older son at his grandmother and raced to the hospital, I'm known for having short labors, and it was!
My son was born the same way he behaved when I was pregnant. He only moved, stretched his long body (felt in my ribs) and tussled every five hours - right around the time I was famished beyond comprehension. Once I ate, he did one final stretch and settled down to rest. He was born much the same way, very quiet, cried a little, then started watching everything. He took his time, stretched out all his 22-inches and entered the world on his time.
He would sit and look around, adored by his big brother, and take it the world. He seemed wise even then. Never without a toy in his hand or something kinestic, he is now a mixed martial artist amateur competitor and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He is the tallest of my children and is still very quiet at times and when he does speak, or write, the world should listen. His love for children still shines through, he is studying history and wants to be an elementary school teacher.
Now the middle living brother of my three living sons, he is a center of calm and quiet observance. He loves his family and offers strength, friendship, and loyalty. He is my look-alike and my heart song.
I look back at that moment when this wise and thoughtful prince became my son and I count my blessings, all 24 of them!
As the years shifted and changed and life changed with it, I found myself remarried and now the mother of three sons, thinking my birthing days over, pregnant again!
While I just 'knew' I was having a boy with my 24 year old, we all went to find out if this baby was going to break my boy streak (I had already had four sons!).
Break it she did! We were having a princess and oh how we celebrated. She had her name and we had painted her room, we were all in on the moment of joy. She was due August 29th, but just like now, she had her own mind made up of what would make her extra special.
She decided that she just wanted to rest, sleep in longer, just like now, that girl loves her sleep!
Two weeks later, finally, the doctor said, ok girl, you have to get moving.
A morning trip to the doctor's office and a quick procedure and I was in labor a few hours later. Still not five minutes apart and more time in the jacuzzi than I care to count, this stubborn little girl was not moving an inch!
My husband and I finally reached the five-minute mark after hours and hours of labor, she was definitely not like the boys! We packed up the van, he had 10 hours of music he put together just for this occasion, we notified friends, woke up the big boys, and off we went.
The calendar changed from Tuesday to Wednesday, from September 4 to September 5 and still no baby. And it was my son's 13th birthday!
Then, just as today, she made up her mind and allowed my body to do what it needed to do to get her ready to make her grand entrance. It was a long ten-and-a-half hours later when the princess entered the world to the watchful eye of her father and a relaxing birthing room filled with music and soft lights. My OB was a beautiful black woman with long, waist-length locs that took two hospital caps to cover up. She understood my desire for a natural labor and massaged me and coached the princess into the world.
Just as she has an opinion now,she did then and entered the world literally crying, probably because we woke her up!
The moment of birth was recorded in pictures and video and she was blessed by my doctor.
She is a writer and fashion designer. She is a violinist and a pianist. She has her own sense of style, right & wrong, and speaks up for those less fortunate. She loves animals and was hoping for one for her birthday but was happy with the purple high tops and new phone instead. She loves her family and has a smile that lights up the room. She is my Me-Me and my twin in more ways than one.
A princess entered the world and her name literally is a celebration that finally, after a long line of boys, a girl was born!
Today, she is 11, and we honor and celebrate her presence in our lives.
Heaven opened up and poured out double blessings to me on this day, September 5th, and gave me a prince and a princess. I am honored.