116, our “Magic” number

So it is today, the 16th of January, 1/16.  27 years ago this morning I became something more than me, I became a mother.  Details come in and out of our memories, and time makes us forget so much, but I can still, clear as day, hear my sister’s voice, speaking quietly and with elated awe, “Ruthie, it’s a girl” and they were the best words I had ever heard.  My daughter arrived a week before I expected her, and I learned early on in the relationship that what I had read and heard was true: that when you become a mother it’s like going through the rest of your life with your heart outside of your body, it’s a strange and fragile love, and it was not until she was a year old that I realized her 1/16 was the same as my 11/6 and that our birthdays were the same number.  We celebrated our “magic” number this past spring with tattoos on the tops of our feet.

Over all these years we have found our number in all sorts of places; my checking account, the day I closed it out when we moved to Maryland was $1,116.16, her house number when she moved to North Carolina was 6116, and a few years ago we realized that my parent’s wedding anniversary, 6/11 is part of our number too… The number comes to us over and over, over time, random and unexpected, it just appears and presents itself to us, and neither of us know if it “means” anything, but it means a lot to us.

My child, my daughter, this grown woman who now lives next door to me with her husband and their two daughters, is often moody and highly irritable, which she can’t possibly get from me 😉 loves to clean and keeps her house perfectly in order, which she absolutely gets from me 😉  is a full time college student and works almost full time as well, is a determined young woman who knows what she wants and how she wants it and makes great efforts to have the life she dreams of…she is in so many ways, a variation of me.  However, there are MANY characteristics that she shares with my mother, a woman I love dearly but who does in fact drive me absolutely mad, much of the time, so it seems that in a way, that is the way it should be…a relationship that shakes me up a  bit, and at other times flows with ease.  I suppose most mothers and daughters have this kind of yin/yang love.  I can only hope that there are elements of me that the little ones have, traits that drive my daughter nuts about me that her daughters will exhibit with pride and positivity, as if some of the traits or behaviors or desires or actions skip generations…maybe that’s part of what makes my mother so close to my daughter, and me so deeply in love with my daughter’s daughters…we see ourselves in them…

When the nurses send us home from the hospital with our 48 hour old babies, they tell us how beautiful they are and wish us luck but they give us no owner’s manual, no how-to pamphlet, no instructional brochure…we read Dr. Spock and wing it.  I look at 27 year old pictures and I can hardly remember myself, or her for that matter.  I was only a few weeks older than 18 and she had only been breathing air for two days and there we were, home from the hospital on a cold Saturday afternoon in Beach Haven in January, figuring each other out, hour by hour.  She was a perfect baby; that I do remember, and she never cried, she sort of mewed, like a kitten, and she slept through the night within weeks and I knew I was lucky.  It’s a miracle really that we manage to raise them to adults, but they grow up and we grow old and we women just keep that whole circle of life going on.

We have five living generations in our family right now: my Dad’s mother is still vibrant and well.  She is the only person in her entire community who is a Great-Great Grandmother.  HER birthday is tomorrow, she will be 95.  Magic perhaps is everywhere, not just in the numbers…

1 thought on “116, our “Magic” number

  1. Wow Ruth…once again, I love reading your words…I’m so happy for you that you have such a wonderful relationship with your daughter. She sounds like an amazing woman!!…Congratulations to the both of you…xo, Mariaelena

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s