When I went into labor with Pallas, I was sure I was having a boy. Art and I were never interested in finding out the sex of our kids. 2.4 years into being a #boymom, I felt like that was what I was supposed to be.
I was surprised when my first child was a boy. Having only sisters, and being a daughter of a woman who had a sister, it didn’t sink in that I could be #boymom. But 2.4 years into being one, I felt like that was what I was supposed to be.
Pallas was born at home in Las Vegas and her birth was beautiful. (Do not mistake beautiful for easy! There are no words to describe the inner widening and the intensity of the body’s system of forcing a child into the world. And it’s a point of great pride for me. I faced a fear and let my body do what I knew it was supposed to do.)
Art and I walked the block and stopped every 100 feet or so. My parents, who were in from CT, went to Whole Foods, where I worked. They shared the news of my labor as they brought orange juice.
When it became clear that walking wasn’t a good idea anymore, we moved to our home and bedroom. Art guided me through my labor. I’d say something like “Ok” or “now” to signal him when a contraction was at its peak, and he’d start counting backward. The sound of his voice lulled me into these restful moments. The midwives, Kay and Lindy, sat outside the bedroom door listening to the labor as midwives do. They’d come in now and then to check on the baby and me.
I went into translation, and then, with Art on the floor, propping me up from behind, my parent sitting on the bed and the midwives doing what midwives do, Pallas was born.
I had convinced everyone I was a #boymom that no one bothered to check for t 5 minutes. Then my dad asked, “Well, what is it?” And to our surprise, it was a girl.
It took us ten days to name her because we hadn’t picked out a single girl’s name.
At school, Art wrote “Name our daughter” on the whiteboard in his classroom. And there were many suggestions!
Pallas was named by a student, Stephanie Goldsmith one of Art’s students.
Pallas Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom. Art used to joke that he hoped her name would get her into college. Interestingly, the patron saint of weaving, Pallas’s favorite mode of creative expression. Something he did not witness is his short time with us
So here I am 22 years later. Nothing is as I thought it would be. But is it ever? I have not met a single mom of older children who say on a birthday; this is exactly how I thought you’d turn out! That is both the delightful surprise and horror of being a mom.
She and I work on our relationship. There have been doors slammed and removed (that’s another story), and mean things said. There has been a lot of learning to listen and unmeasurable forgiveness. She’s intuitive, funny as shit, and opinionated.
And I like her. It’s a privilege to say that. It is a privilege to witness her age. Art did not have the privilege. Some of my living friends do not have the privilege of watching their children age.
So on this birthday, more than any other so far, I am grateful, to the ends of the universe and back, that Pallas is my child.
Happy 22nd. Thanks for making me a #girlmom