"Beware the Ides of March." It's one of the better-known lines from Julius Caesar, and I suppose that's where I first encountered it. As it quite rightly served as fair warning to Caesar of his impending doom, I always took it to be a rather ominous sort of thing, and March the 15th to be an "unlucky" day, in the same vein as Friday the 13th. Funny thing about that, though: Friday the 13th has always been a "lucky" day in my family -- my parents were married, almost 54 years ago, on a Friday the 13th. And they still seem to like each other.
So, it shouldn't have come as much of a surprise that March the 15th would also become a "lucky" day for me. No, the real surprise was that a little girl who wasn't due to make her arrival until April 26, 2002, decided to show up almost a month-and-a-half earlier. I so wasn't ready. Not that I'm sure you can ever truly be ready to go through childbirth -- at least not the first time around. But I really wasn't ready -- I had a court appearance scheduled for that morning; we had a big case getting ready to go to trial; I hadn't had a chance to really update any of my files and make a list of things that would need to be covered by others while I was out on maternity leave. And I'd had these grand plans of taking off a few days prior to the due date and spending them at home, getting her room ready, and finally getting around to putting my decades' worth of photographs into albums. That seemed like such a nice, calming way to prepare myself for the whole labor/delivery/oh-my-gosh-I'm-a-mom-now thing.
Well, there's another famous literary line about "the best laid plans of mice and men," and go oft awry they did. I still remember realizing how odd it was that this child I'd thought would be a Taurus, had skipped right over Aries and would, instead, be a Pisces. That didn't worry me quite so much, as some of my most favorite people in the world were (and still are) Pisces. What did worry me was whether I'd be able to get everything handled that needed to be at work, whether she'd be healthy, and whether I'd be an okay mom.
I needn't have worried quite so much about work -- we found a way to muddle through it all and the world didn't stop, though it did take a lot of frantic phone calls, sometimes with the hospital room phone in one ear and my cell in the other, to get it all squared away. (I still recall the anesthesiologist arriving to rescue me with the epidural, cocking an eyebrow at my telephonic double fisting, and remarking, "Oh - you're one of those 'Type A' people, aren't you?" I felt compelled to roundly deny the charge, but I'm not quite certain I convinced him.)
And the "mom" part, well, I'm still a work in progress, but I think I can lay claim to "okay" without warranting an accusation of arrogance. The "healthy" part? That took a little time to get to. 23 days in the NICU isn't the ideal way to start one's life, but she toughed it out and doesn't appear to have any residual negative effects from it. Aside from baby pictures with lots of tubes and wires and eye patches which tended to take a bit away from the "Awww -- isn't she a cutie?!" quotient. I may be a bit biased, but I think she more than makes up for that most days.
But setting aside her somewhat rocky introduction to the world, I am extraordinarily happy to be the proud mother of an amazing, incredible, intelligent, wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful eight year old little girl. She is the light of my life, and it is my privilege to be the person she calls, "Mommy," (or, more often, these days, "Mom".)
So, when I hear people say, "Beware the Ides of March," I can't help but smile. What a blessed day it has become in my life. Happy Birthday, Riley Jayne. I love you.