Today is Jake's birthday.
Unlike many of the events that fill the pages of my past, his birth day is fully preserved in my memory. To say it was one of the pivotal moments of my life is to both overstate--and understate--the facts. I wasn't really ready for him, although he was well-planned. I experienced the guilt and fear of failing to feel an instant bond of motherly love--and yet his arrival immediately, permanently, altered my life.
Over the past 28 years, he has become a smart, silly, guitar-strumming, chef knife wielding, sports nut that I love being around. A strong, decent, warm-hearted young man that I'm proud to call my son.
Today, as I waited impatiently on the wrong line at Whole Foods, I thought about a creative exercise I recently did. I was supposed to think about something that gave me joy, then create an image of it on a small card to carry in my wallet. If I found myself in a difficult or aggravating situation, I could simply pull out the card and--ta da!--my anger or frustration would disappear.
What popped into my mind was answering the phone and hearing Jake's voice on the other end. Failing to come up with a suitable image, I just wrote the word "Joy" on the card and stuck it in my bag.
Standing in the slow-moving line, I remembered the card in my wallet. As soon as I saw the word I'd written, Jake's voice was in my ear. My mood shifted in an instant, magically lifted by a wave of love. And I gave thanks for the precious gift of my son--and of being his mother.