THE FIRST THING I DID WHEN I GOT HOME FROM THE GYM TONIGHT WAS EAT A CUPCAKE. It was really yummy -- white cupcake and strawberry frosting. It was one of 3 batches of cupcakes that I've been baking since yesterday. Tomorrow is The Girl's 11th birthday.
We have to bring enough cupcakes for her homeroom, and then another set of cupcakes for her after school leadership class. That's a ton of cupcakes. The whole time I was baking them, all three members of the family hovered at my elbow just waiting for me to set down a bowl or a spoon.
"You done with that, Mama?" The Boy must've asked thirty times. Bunch of vultures trying to lick the batter clean. The Husband is the worst, though, he'll just walk into the kitchen, grab a spoon and scoop some out while asking me how my day ways.
We always make homemade cupcakes for birthdays. I love to bake, but get sick of eating pastries -- so I like to bake them for other people. My students earn points in class, and if they hit 5,000 points, I bring in my cupcakes. That was always my trick when I had a longterm middle school sub job -- bring baked goods. The average middle schooler will absolutely pay attention in class if they know there's an applesauce spice cake waiting at the end of class.
It was right about this time, 11 years ago, that I told my husband, "I think I might be in labor." It was a Monday night, and that band practice. (Remember, The Husband is a rockstar, type.) I waited until they were packing up their instruments to mention this fact, and he still thinks it is funny that I waited until band practice was over to tell him I was in labor. We fully expected to be sent back home from the hospital - the old false labor thing you always see in movies, so we both started laughing when the nurse said, "Yep, looks like we are going to admit you." And just a few relaxing 12 HOURS LATER we had a beautiful baby girl who at birth looked so much like my mother-in-law, it was startling.
Whenever I think back to The Girl's earliest days, I mostly remember anxiety which sounds kind of terrible, but she got pretty banged up being born; broken clavicle, multiple bruise on her head, and Erb's Palsey. Era's Palsey occurs 1 in 100 births, and it is a condition where the nerve to the arm is either stretched or torn. When the girl was born, her right arm was sort of twisted around backwards and she couldn't move it. The day she was born they custom-fit this tiny, little splint to keep her arm turned the right way. I have it in her little time capsule and it is adorable.
Less than 12 hours after her birth, the head of pediatrics popped his head in the room, and explained that she had Erb's Palsey. "It is either a tear of the nerve, or the nerve has been badly stretched. If it is stretched, her arm will 'wake up' and she will be able to use it. It if is a tear, she will never have use of her arm. We just have to wait and see." And then he left.
I'm not sure if you've picked up on this, but I am a bit of a worrier so this was a pretty stressful time for us. We couldn't bring her home because she was too jaundiced from all the bruising, and I camped out there in the hospital absolutely refusing to leave without her. A week after she was born we started going to physical therapy once a week. She had physical therapy until she was eight months old. (Side note: If you want to tick off a little baby -- don't let them use their dominant hand to play with their toys.). We were fortunate, her nerve was stretched badly - although most babies recover within 48 hours. It took her eight months.
It's funny. I don't really think of it at all any more. The Girl is left-handed, but so is my uncle and many other family members. She doesn't do a great back bend, but then neither did I. She has beautiful penmanship and draws really well. She wants to be an artist/designer/unicorn. The usual.
I like to remind myself of her arm when I am in the middle of things that are tough. When that doctor stuck his head in the door, it felt like a bomb had gone off. And yet, here we are 11 years later on the other side. I guess that is thing about tough times. There is usually another side -- it's just getting there that is tough.
So if you are trying to recover from the reverberations of an earth-shaking bomb, hang in there. We will get to the other side. Just you wait.