4 days ago I celebrated my 39th birthday. I'm one of those people who doesn't care that people know how old I am. Considering the fact that my kidneys failed when I was 28, I'm actually amazed that I've made it this long! But Sunday, February 7th, was a great day and many people celebrated with me.
When my sibs and I were growing up, our mom had a tradition of telling us our 'birthday story'. She would make us our favorite meal and we would eat chocolate cake & ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce (except for my 7th birthday when I pleaded for a Strawberry Shortcake cake and have regretted it ever since. Long live chocolate!). After we would get done eating, Mom would "tell us our story", about the days leading up to our births and the day of the birth and all of that. And usually she would end with something like "and we were soooo happy that you were born into our family and we are still so happy!" I can't speak for my sibs, but I always loved hearing that story.
As a matter of fact, I still love hearing it. She continues to tell us our stories, although now it's mostly only when we ask for it. I couldn't this year because of time issues, and I feel like my birthday wasn't quite complete.
Here are the highlights of my story:
In February of 1977 there was a blizzard that hit the Brookville, IN, area. Every three days the snow came in, and nobody could go anywhere. So in the three days between snow storms, the town would clear the roads and help people get their cars out and everything. Since mom and dad knew I was going to come soon, they decided to go to Connersville that first day that they were able to get the car out and see our family doctor, Dr. Ellis. He agreed that I was coming soon, but everything was up in the air with the weather. Dr. Ellis was an old-fashioned doctor, and he gave mom and dad the option. "We can wait and see if you make it until after the next storm comes, or we can go ahead and move things along." Mom & Dad decided to move things along and started by sending Nate and Tab (then 4 and 2) with my Grandma and Grandpa Wasson just in case "this baby comes". Dr. Ellis told her to go buy a bottle of castor oil and drink it. When my mom asked how much she needed to take, he answered "the whole bottle!" Mom says it was so disgusting that she asked dad to get her a can a 7-up and they sat there in the car while she took one sip of castor oil and then one sip of 7-up until they were both gone. But by that evening she was in labor, playing Rack-O with Dad while they waited, and I was born that night on February 7th, 1977. And if I remember correctly from what they've told me -- I was their favorite baby ever.**
Out of my 39 birthdays, I've probably heard this story 30 times. It's nice to have a story. It's nice to have something to celebrate. It's nice to be born into a family that is excited for your arrival, and that still seems genuinely happy that you are still a part of it even 39 years later. :) I am really thankful for parents who have celebrated our lives with the traditional story-telling that still makes me content to be a Hannum.
**This part of the story may or may not be true. :)