Birth Day

Yasmina Antcliff

Birth Days

I looked out the window at the dark tangle of trees writhing in the sudden July storm as I   pulled on a red knit hoodie sweater and reached for the door.   Before that day, driving in heavy rain had never bothered me, but something was different. I gave white knuckle driving new meaning as I gripped the sweaty steering wheel, and stared at the road ahead of me. I hadn't brought any of the things that I had carefully packed with me. Those things were just things, and they didn't seem to matter now as I rushed out to the car.   I kept thinking, “Today is July thirty first.   This is the day.”   The soft red pajamas I had lovingly folded and unfolded and folded again in my overnight bag were merely an afterthought in comparison to the tiny soul, blooming in my body.   As terrified as I was, I could not wait to meet her.
I had envisioned this moment a thousand times, and none of them were close to the awkward reality I found as I parked the car and waddled uncomfortably through the automatic doors at St. Mary's. The next 36 hours were a blur of back breaking labor - when all of the sudden I heard her trembling little cry, and saw her quivering little body.   As long as I live I will never forget the moment she was put into my arms, and on August 2, 2006 at 2:07 am I came face to face with the most enchanting creature I've ever met in my life. I have never been religious, but I swear she was all of heaven and all of earth and all at once and I was honored by the privilege of holding her close and   the responsibility that was given to me.  
The word “birthday” means more to me now than it ever has before, and Scarlett's birthday is sacred to me.   Just as I did the first time, every year I spend months in preparation of her big day.   Little by little, I gather the colorful party decorations and supplies that I cannot afford to buy all at once.   All   year long, I collect a few special gifts that I believe will spark her curiosity and inspire...