Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30th: A Trilogy

Ten years ago on April 30th, I was in a different place.


I awoke alone in the twin bed from my teen years, the most important of days peeking over the horizon. After leaving Howard University during junior year on God’s bizarre orders, I’d moved into Mommy’s Chestnut Hill apartment. Those two years forged a unique bond and synergy we still share, but on this morning, I was preparing to put on my big girl panties and get my own place.

At age 26, it was time.

Theoretically excited about the potential girls nights and sleepovers, I was secretly terrified. Not only did I fear missing Mommy too much—she was moving to New Jersey—but I worried the longstanding absence of my then boyfriend would become suffocating in the silence.

But I soldiered on.

Three years later on April 30th, I rolled out of the queen bed I shared with my new husband and shuffled to the bathroom to relieve the pressure in my bladder. Padding downstairs for First Breakfast, I wondered aloud how I could have to use the bathroom again so soon then realized it was a different sort of potty emergency.

My water broke.

Not the actual moment, but pretty close.
Stunned and excited, I waddled upstairs, pushed open the bedroom door, and exclaimed, “Babe! My water just broke!” Without opening his eyes, he groaned and snorted, “No, it didn’t.”

(This is the reaction you get at 6:45 AM from an experienced father, uncle, and older brother who has well earned the title of Childbirth Expert.)

“Yes, it did!” I insisted.

“No.” He had the decency to face me this time. “It didn’t.”

“Oh, yeah?” I lifted my nightshirt and pulled down my underwear. “Then what is this?”

Men are visual creatures, after all.

He sprang out of bed and told me to call my doctor while he doled out instructions to the oldest five children who were preparing for school and wondering why their new stepmother was making more noise than usual.

Obedient as always, I called my Mom, who was not only back in Philadelphia but a mere eight minutes away by car. She greeted me with an enthusiastic-slash-panicked, “Are you in labor?” Unlike the last 49 times she’d asked in the past month, this time I squealed, “I think so!”

“What did the doctor say?” she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know.” I beamed. “I called you first.”

There was a pause of displeasure. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I’m in labor and wanted to talk to my Mommy!”

“Oh, Niecy, that’s sweet, but you need to call your doctor now.”

It was then Horace reentered the room, fully awake and on alert. “What’s the doctor saying?”

That my husband and mother share a birthday and a brain.

This morning on April 30th, I awake beside my sleeping husband before dawn, smiling in the darkness about the day ahead. Jonan turns seven today and is excited about it for the first time ever. His joy is a far cry from his reaction two years ago when I burst into his bedroom and cried, “Good morning, Jonan! Today is your birthday!” and he barely turned around to say, “No, Mom. It isn’t.”

(Et tu, Jonan? Really?)

That year, we had cake but no candles and he forbade anyone to sing or wish him ‘Happy birthday,” covering his ears or leaving the room if anyone tried for the rest of the year.

I know because I tried.

But this year, Jonan is all for the celebration, and Mommy is all too happy to indulge him, as she has her own milestones to celebrate.

Ten and seven years in the making.

My big boy and me. Oh, how I love him!


  1. You have such a beautiful family. I always enjoy seeing them. :)

  2. Happy birthday, Jonan! Love, Auntie Jess <3 <3 <3