May 21 Letter

Dear Baby,

Today is my 31st birthday. But I couldn’t really care less. I’m much more interested in when your birthday is going to be!

I have been thinking about my birthday in a new way though. I’ve been thinking about how important this day was to my own mother just over 3 decades ago. I now understand exactly how she must have been feeling. The anticipation, the discomfort, the excitement and wonder.

This is truly such a magical time, these last days and weeks. I was talking to my friend Laura last night and she likened this time to being on a roller coaster and traveling up and up and up that first hill, not knowing when it’s actually going to drop down. And it does feel that way. Each day I wake up and wonder if today is the day that I’m going to finally meet you.

Today is also a special day because two years ago my grandmother Doris died. I turned 29 that day. I remember waking up in my little house in California, the breeze cool through the windows. I was grateful to be alone, to get to stretch out long and lean in the bed by myself. But when I opened my eyes that morning I knew, I just knew that my grandmother was gone.

I took my cup of coffee that morning and sat on my little deck and wept. My mother’s mother was dead. I wept for my mother. For how much she loved her mother, for how she would have mourned that loss and for how she didn’t have to.

I wept too because I wasn’t there. Just a week before I had canceled a trip to Cape Cod to see her, too caught up in a writing project and in my final days of grad school to make the trip. Just like with my mother, I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. But we so rarely do anyway, something I’ve learned the hard way.

But baby, the thing about it all is that had my grandmother not died that day two years ago, and had I not flown to Cape Cod the following weekend for her funeral, I never would have stopped in Chicago on my way home to meet your father. And I guess that means that you wouldn’t even be here. Life works in strange ways sometimes.

So here I am, dear. Your 31-year-old mother, waiting, not so patiently, for your arrival.



Photo by Holly Bond Farrell

Follow me on Twitter for labor updates: ClaireBidwell



  • Carroll
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Claire!
    May you be fully and festively celebrated on this most memorable occasion.
    If your writing has taught me anything it’s to be “mindful”. My last birthday before becoming a mother? No memory of that whatsoever.
    Here’s to a fun day for you, and many more to come.
    Birthday hugs galore from me to you!!!!!!

  • RPC
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I can’t bear the suspense. I keep checking every few hours to see if the Baby has arrived. So, congratulations, and Baby, come fast.

  • Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    That’s such a nice thing to read, Carroll — that my writing has made you more mindful.
    RPC — are you on Twitter? If so, you can follow me there for labor updates:

  • Christine
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Claire! What wonderful pictures. I can only imagine the anticipation you’re feeling. I guess you’re getting ready for one of the biggest hellos of your life! Good luck with everything.

  • Posted May 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Claire!! I hope you have one special birthday! Hope that you can laugh a lot so that you could forget the physical discomfort you have. I’m sure your baby could hear and feel that today is the day you were born back then. And I love your picture!!!
    Stopping by your blog is kind of a therapy for me. Not just your writings, even your pictures comfort and sooth me!! Whenever I’m stressed out, I automatically visit your blog to look for that reward. I’m sorry for doing that though… I should visit here when I’m happy too..
    Wishing you a wonderful day today and only better days to come!!

  • Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Beautiful Claire! Kismet. Just kismet.

  • Aeshna
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Claire! Have a great day and a wonderful 31st year.

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