Caitlin Paige’s Birthday; or, What No One Tells You

Caitlin, leading a little parade of sassafras with dark glasses and duckface.

Caitlin, leading a little parade of sassafras with dark glasses and duckface.

Twenty years ago today, I was living in New Orleans when my sister Betsy had her daughter, Caitlin. I was so excited about the birth of my very first niece– and this was before the Facebooks and the Interwebs, so I didn’t even get to see her in person until about a month later (if you can imagine a world with that kind of delayed gratification). But you know what I did get right away? Childbirth trivia. A LOT of childbirth trivia. I went to bed that night super-late, as usual, and after being out very late, as usual. I mean, I was living in NOLA after all. And at about 4am, my phone rang: “I’m awake,” said Betsy, “And I knew you’d be home. There’s SO MUCH ABOUT THIS that no one tells you.”

And Betsy and I had a long, detailed and graphic conversation in which she told me the real deal about delivering babies. At 4 o’clock in the morning. I will never forget it– she told me stuff I used when I had my own babies, almost ten years later. And Caitlin, as the first of the next generation, was doted on and loved and lavished with gifts. She grew into a smart, sensitive, thoughtful person who always works to get everything exactly right. She’s a great kid, and actually she’s also a great adult. Love you, Caitie. Thanks for being the reason that I learned (at 4am at the start of a hangover) what “blooming” is– and that you should always keep a trash can by your bed in case your water breaks. Happy birthday!!

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