Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Zachary!

Today, Zachary-Michael Amir Clarke turns 6.  It's a little startling.  I know it sounds cliche but can six years have passed already??  It was just yesterday.....

May 30, 2004.  Zachary is due.  Brackston-Hicks contractions are present and strong, but not enough to go into labor.  The midwife encourages me to take black cohosh and blue cohosh to encourage labor to start.  I hurry to Mrs Greens and stock up on my tictures of the relevant herbs.  I was sure it would all happen by tomorrow.

June 6, 2004.  Zach is not yet here.  I'm exhausted.  These herbs do strengthen contractions (ouch!) but won't start the labor if the baby isn't ready.  What the...???  I'm ready!

June 8, 2004.  The herbs are done.  I've also tried ginger tea (really strong contractions!) and many other potions.  No Zachary and I'm not sleeping because of these uncomfortable non-labor contractions!

June 9, 2004.  Pissed.  I'm quarreling with Zachary and afraid of being transferred to the hospital for the 'i' word (induction).  I really want a birthing center birth.  I hate hospitals.

June 10, 2004.
6:15a.m.  Hmmm, these contractions are a little more uncomfortable than the ones before...  I wonder...
7:15a.m.: This is it for sure.  How does the breathing go again? 
7:45a.m.  We leave home and head to the birthing center.  Unfortunately, this is now rush hour traffic.   The contractions are 90 seconds apart, lasting for 60 seconds.  I remember this from the last time... It's probably soon.... We are on the I-87 heading south.
8:00a.m. nauseous.  That's a bad sign.  He's coming!  Aren't we there yet?  I'm trying not to push!!  We are breaking red lights.  I watched stuff like this in the movies. 
8:15a.m. Finally!  We park at the No Parking sign and I struggle into the center (we got a ticket). I am greeted cordially and invited into the office for check-in.  I explain that the baby is coming now.  The nurse agrees with a 'there, there, I now it feels that way' voice. 
8:25a.m. Waaaah!  I haven't left the intake office.  I wish I got to see the delivery room!  I wanted a water birth!

The midwife looked at Zachary, all 8lbs 13 ounces of him (where did all that fit?) and commented that he didn't look over due.  Maybe the dates were wrong, she said.  I just remembered thinking that after looking like he didn't want to come, official labor time clocked in at under 2.5 hours.  How many other experiences in life are like that?  He's beautiful!  Why was I working myself up, exponentially worsening the wait with anger and fear?

Zachary is like that to this day.  God alone knows how he learns what he's learning in the Clarke Family Homeschool, because he does not let on that he is paying any attention.  He walks to the beat of his own drum.  Up until about age 4, he was politely stubborn.  No bad attitude needed, he would smile and just do his own thing.  After age 4, he realized he didn't have to be polite all the time. 

My Zachary is focussed.  He has an idea and just has to execute it.  Until he gets that idea, there is no forcing, cajoling, manipulating, whining, begging him to have any particular idea.  He does what he does when it's right for him.  Yet, when he gets an idea, what an idea it is!  Right now, he is into food art.  Look at the pictures below.  Can you guess what the first one is?  Do you see its eyes?

We have an on-going discussion about his 'readiness for school' since 6 year olds go to school, but he's running away.  2 days ago I asked him to attend to my discussion of the 'sh' sound.  He told me that he wouldn't.  I'm learning, so I leave him alone, though sometimes muttering to myself.  Then he came and asked me for help with his food art.  I told him I gave the ingredients to people who could talk about the 'sh' sound.  After all, they are my ingredients.  He agreed to discuss the sound, but "I won't be writing anything and I won't be drawing anything!"  No problem, I said.  I would do all the writing and the drawing.  It turns out I did no writing or drawing.  He got such a kick out of spelling the 'sh' words as I said them, and making up his own words ("gash" he said triumphantly. "yes, that's like a deep wound on someone's body", I said, knowing full well he was just phonetically making up the word). 

Learning to relax and go with the flow, but keep my intention clear, is really helpful.

The pictures here are Zach in Jamaica on our family vacation last month, and Zach as the king in Cinderella (the prince had a father, remember?).

I could go on and on about him.  I won't, though, don't worry.  On the children's birthdays, I remind myself of their birthing stories and review all the many stories that have followed.  Life is filled with fascinating micro-seconds that can be explored over and over again.  Every time you look at it, you see can see something more, something else, another dimension.  We celebrate birthdays for at least a week in the Clarke household.  I will take this week to fully experience my Zachary and savor all he brings to my life.  Happy Birthday Zachary!!


  1. Faith, Happy birthday to Zach! Hope you have an amazingly celebratory day!

    The Iris and Mark combo are turned seven this month. I'm thinking about trying food-art with Iris as oftentimes the best way to get her to do something is to demand that she do something else.

    Happy day!

  2. Since quotes have been in vogue here lately, I'm reminded of this one, also from Einstein (no, not the bagel folks), to the effect that we can go through life treating either everything or nothing as a miracle. I have developed a personal bias (after being introduced to Option/SonRise) for the everything option, and nowhere is it as easy to implement as with kids, be it your own or somebody else's. So, thanks for sharing a bit of your miracle with us, Faith! Celebrating birthdays for a week... hmmm, that's a GREAT idea.


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