Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is Taylor's 26th birthday.  More on that in a minute.  I'll circle back and pick you up.  My friend, Terry, is one of the funniest and most compassionate people I know.  She told me the other day that I should collect all of these writings and publish a book.  And she came up with a title and then made me promise that  I'd give her credit if I used it.  Terry's suggested title for my life's blogs is: Chicken Soup My A**!!   I howled when she advised me.   Underneath my laughter was the truth;  It's a perfect title---Chicken Soup----My A**.  It fits.
    So, 26 years ago,  while still in the recovery room, the doctor (s) told me to have someone round up my family right away.  They  said they needed us all together so they could speak with us.   We sent somebody---a nurse?---rushing down to my room where my sisters were tying up balloons and hanging celebratory signs.  Martha and Deanie showed up at my bedside within seconds--out of breath and clearly not knowing what we were all about to be told. 
Dr. H. wasted no time, but she struggled with her words and hesitated as she did her best to break the news to us about our newborn son.  (This has got to be right up there on their  list of  "this is not my favorite part of being a doctor.")  And, then she hit us with the news that would change our lives in one split second----causing us to cough up everything we had ever believed about life up to that point.  "Yes," she lamented, "he will be retarded."  Slam.  1-2 Knock out punch.  What????  Ok, you get it. Huge news.  Devastating news.  Not-what-we-had-expected news.  How-in-the-hell-will-we-ever-do-this news. 
But here is the most incredible and truly beautiful part of that birth-day.  Without hesitating, without skipping even one beat, both of my sisters heaved (visibly) a huge sigh of relief.  "Oh, thank God.  Is that all it is? We were so afraid you were going to tell us there was something wrong with Marianne.  Whew.  We can handle this.  We couldn't have handled the other."  So let's get on with this---- is what they were saying.
 Retarded?  Piece of cake.  We've still got each other and that's all that really matters. ----that was the distinct, unequivocal,  spoken and unspoken message that day.  We can do this.
Isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard? And so it was.....and is. 
And Mr. Taylor is 26.  He knows it's his birthday but he has not handed me a list of "I want this and I want that."  He just wants to blow out some candles.  Candles that he won't be able to count.  So, we'll count them for him.  And remember and celebrate.  Besides taking him to NYC and Yellowstone this summer, I bought him three sticker books.  Now, buying those did make cry.  The salesperson at Borders inquired, "Oh your son will love these Disney sticker books.  How old will he be?"  I gulped.  Should I have lied?  It would have been so much easier and I wouldn't have had the sales lady shifting from one foot to another trying to figure out what to do with my tears.  Maybe when Taylor turns 50 I can buy sticker books without caving in.
So, here's how I'm celebrating.  For 26 years I have told people I couldn't do sit ups "cause my stitches still hadn't healed from childbirth." That, of course, is a big fat lie.
I am going to do some sit ups. 
I think my stitches have finally healed.  Well.....are healing.
Let me just try a few. 
Happy Birth---Happy Life-----Happy Love----to my sweet son.
Bring on the chicken soup--for the soul, for the mama, for the son, for living this life.


  1. Bless Deanie and Martha . . . and bless you and Taylor and Joe. Happy Birthday to all of you.

    And what do you mean you went to NYC and didn't stop by to see us??? We've got stickers in New Jersey, you know!

  2. Happy Birthday Taylor. What an absolutely moving piece today. I think that reading THIS one and the HEALING HANDS one together will make me see sticker books as somewhat "holy" from now on.

  3. Happy Birthday Taylor! You should know that you are a very blessed boy because God picked you such a special mom!

  4. This is so wonderful and inspiring!
    Happy Birthday Taylor! You are a blessing to each life you touch.

    Mom of child with autism

  5. Happy Birthday to my Precious Taylor!!! I love you now and always! Thanks for sharing the story Mary-I too am glad that there is nothing wrong with you! And I am so happy to know Taylor! Liz

  6. I love the book title! How wonderful that you have such great sisters. Thanks for being so open and such a thoughtful and touching writer.


  7. Marianne, I love it because you hold the power to make us all simultaneously cry and laugh. You cleanse my heart with every one of your posts, and I thank you for your tremendous honesty. It isn't easy to bare your soul.


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..