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Today is My Son's Birthday

During my last pregnancy I sang songs to my belly as I rocked back and forth or danced about the room. If anyone had seen me, they would have laughed. I certainly did. I felt silly and giddy. But, I was also very serious about raising this child with more conscious purposefulness than with my last two. It had been 12 years since the birth of Therese, 13 since Laurie. Sometimes, when the baby kicked me, I would grab at my belly and press my hand against the protruding foot or elbow, and rub it, while talking like any mother smooching with her babe.

Xavier was born by Cesarean Section at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, California when I was thirty-one years old. He was the child the doctors had told me I could never have. So, with a great exuberance I threw myself into motherhood, reading every available piece of information regarding infant care and child raising. I incorporated some of the new ideas I learned, and I let my creativity and intuition guide me otherwise.

I probably would have been considered a little unkind by the experts at times.  Perhaps judged as over stimulating my infant with the many bright pictures plastered on the walls of his nursery. These were not Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse pictures. No, these were pages torn from National Geographic, or other magazines. Whatever grabbed my fancy ended up on those walls, and I changed them often, putting the old pictures in scrapbooks to share with my son, later.

Adorning his room were Japanese Kabuki dancers in grotesque masks, great detailed color photos of rare and beautiful flora and fauna of our planet, strange costumes and faces of people from other cultures, artwork of famous painters, incredibly intricate mosaic tile work from the Arab world, stained glass windows from French cathedrals, outer space depictions of planets and solar systems, maps of foreign countries, and overviews of architectural wonders. You name it, and it was probably on those walls.  Three or four mobiles floated from each corner of the ceiling and the piece de resistance, a full length mirror placed horizontally on the wall beside his crib, and another beside his changing table.  Perhaps it gave Xavier the illusion that he was never alone.  Perhaps he could gaze into it and see another, expanded version of his nursery and all the distracting things to look at.

I recall when he was about four years old when we lived in another place quite void of all this abundance of stimuli, I caught Xavier pantomiming in front  of a mirror.  When I asked him what he was doing, he answered, “I am dancing for my best friend! It was then, that I wondered about the wisdom of those strategically placed mirrors of his infancy.

Music was another thing I suppose I overindulged.  Every time I set my baby boy down for a nap I turned on a small tape recorder.  I played a lot of different music for him.  Mostly Classical, but often times, interspersed with traditional ethnic music with a Celtic or Hispanic flavor.  It mattered not to me that songs were sung in a foreign tongue.  What mattered to me was that he was exposed to beauty of all sorts.

Today is his birthday, he is 33 years old. I miss his being my little boy.

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