My Mom is not a tea-totaler. But she doesn’t actually drink, either. She’ll have a glass of wine maybe once or twice a year, or so… but that’s about it. So the fact that she got smashed (for lack of a better word) on the day Audrey was born is legendary family stuff.
This past Sunday, on Audrey’s 32nd birthday, even my Mom laughed as she recalled that Tuesday in May.
For obvious reasons, I wasn’t there to witness the debacle of my lovely mother. (I was in recovery, recovering as it may from a 32-hour labor that ended in a Cesarean delivery of our beautiful baby girl, Audrey Allison, at nearly 6:00 pm.) I had last seen my Mom at my baby shower, 2 days earlier, on a Sunday. I had gone to school on Monday… albeit feeling a bit “off”… to the point where I even made a quick visit to the school nurse first thing that morning. The nurse was an older, rather wise woman who looked at me and said, “Honey, you’re in labor.” I insisted that I couldn’t be in labor because my baby wasn’t due for 6 more weeks. Geesh. An hour later, while teaching a class, my water broke. The school nurse was right.
Fortunately, Barry and I taught at the same school, and I sent a traumatized student (a boy, no less) to get Barry. Within minutes, we were on our way to the hospital. There were no cell phones 32 years ago. No Facebook or Twitter. No laptops. Pay phones, yes… but Barry and I had so much to do when we arrived at the hospital that he didn’t get in touch with anyone for a few hours. You can imagine my Mom and my Mother-in-law getting that phone call and then sitting by the phone. For hours. And more hours. And nothing happened. We were told that I would stay overnight and be induced the next morning. Barry passed along the news by pay phone.
Then the morning came. And afternoon. Which turned into late afternoon with the news that a Cesarean delivery was necessary. My mom and mother-in-law were at their wits’ end. First, this baby was way too early. Second, the labor was way too long. Third… well, this baby was a grandchild and they were moms. Fourth, I had no way of talking to either of them to ease their anxiety. Especially my Mom, Rita. Flo had, at least, heard Barry’s voice. My Mom was kind of floating in space.
Then Audrey arrived. She was perfect, but rushed to the intensive care nursery because of her size. I was sedated and stitched and sent to recovery. Barry met Rita and my brother and went to celebrate at Leo’s, a restaurant in downtown Providence that no longer exists, but that was one of our favorites 32 years ago…
And the rest in history. My Mom simply got caught up in the tension, anxiety and then joy of the day and had one drink too many… which means she probably had 2. But Barry and my brother have never let this story, this tiny lapse of judgment, end. All in good fun… and all because it was such a different time of personal communication.
Rita laughed a good laugh as she recalled this story at Audrey’s birthday breakfast at our home this past Sunday. She can’t believe that 32 years have passed and Audrey has blessed her with her 4 little guys. It was so good to see my Mom laugh and find such delight and love on Audrey’s birthday. And the ability to share a good story, even at her own expense, of a day so long ago.
Ah… Lovely Rita.
(And, oh… she had only coffee on year 32!)