Christmas Countdown
Art-a-Month December



It's my 28th birthday today! That's me up there, if you can believe it, although I've grown quite a bit taller and my hair has become marginally thicker. Even though I'm not one for big birthday celebrations I still get pretty excited for December 22. It's so fun to have a day that you can call your own, isn't it?

When I talk to my parents on my birthday I love to ask them to tell me the story of my birth; it's fun to hear the details they remember about that day. My mom was 29 when she had me and until recently 29 seemed so much older and more mature than whatever age I was; an age by which you definitely had it all figured out and knew all the right answers. But suddenly 29 is right around the corner and I have a much better understanding of what it would be like to have a baby then. Hearing my mom's account of having me, her first baby, has a new, and very special, feel to it.

And so I do hope you'll indulge me in today's post; I asked my mom if she would be willing to write what she remembers about the day I was born and if I could share it. Thanks so much to my dear mom, Vivian, for letting me share her birth story of me.

The temperature in Austin on December 22, 1983 was in the twenties, but I don’t remember much else about the weather that day. I had been in labor for hours and hours but it wasn’t until about two o’clock in the morning that the nurse at the hospital judged that my contractions were close enough together that we should head on into town and check in. I do remember marveling that when we came back home there would be a new little person, our baby! in the brand new car seat we’d bought a few weeks before.

I had armed myself with lots of information- Penelope Leach’s Your Baby and Child comes to mind- and I had read all about what to expect from a newborn, a one month old, a six month old, a toddler. We had already made many decisions- a hospital birth over a home birth, breast not bottle, cloth diapers not disposables- and we’d picked out names- Arthur Steele for a boy (what were we thinking?) Kelsey Caldwell for a girl. We didn’t know which we’d have until she was born!

Once at the hospital the labor went on for a few more hours and I can tell you that they don’t call it labor for nothing. But at last at 5:37 AM, weighing eight pounds, fifteen ounces, Kelsey entered the world and our world has never been the same.

 I knew we would love the baby- everybody loves their baby. And I already loved lots of people- my parents, my brothers and friends, and my husband, Chip. But what I didn’t understand until it happened to me was how much I would love her. It was as if the earth stopped turning and nothing mattered except that her every need was met, that she was protected from every harm or even discomfort and that she felt loved and adored at all times. The first night home we slept with all the lights on in our bedroom lest a second should pass between the time we heard her stir and we could tend to her.

That was twenty-eight years ago. Her sister joined us three years later and the years flew by as we enjoyed our toddlers, our children, our teenagers and now our young adults. I look at the pictures and wonder where did the time go?

But the memory of that overwhelming, timeless love that accompanied us home from the hospital that cold December hasn’t dimmed at all because it’s still right here warming my heart again this cold December in Austin. Happy Birthday Kelsey.