The (Almost) End of Birthday Season


Ren at 14 months

Today Ren-Ren turns 11—Happy Birthday Ren!
You may have noticed that I seem to have written a bunch of birthday blogs lately, namely Kai’s birthday, and Ling’s birthday .  That’s what I get for bearing 3 kids all in the spring.  Between March 3 (Scott’s birthday) and May 27 (Ren’s birthday) all 5 of us, plus 3 grandparents and an uncle were born.
Despite today being the last birthday, birthday season isn’t over yet.  We don’t even have a date for Ren’s party—with Ling’s birthday only a week earlier, I can’t plan his until hers is over, and by then I’m already running behind.  Good thing he always wants a pool party and the water’s too cold until mid-June!
Our rapid succession of birthdays is all because Scott and I listened to Nancy, Ling’s godmother and my supervisor at the time.  She said that spring was the best time to give birth.  Why not spend maternity leave in warmth with minimal clothing between baby and breast?  
We believed her, and fertility being the only thing that’s come easily in our marriage, had 3 kids on first or 2nd try.
The gender of my kids is just about the only thing I’ve gotten exactly as I want it.  First, I wanted a girl, probably out of rebellion against my parents’ overweening fixation on sons to carry on the family name.  I wanted a daughter with whom I would share a special mother-daughter bond, not completely remembering all the screaming tearful fights I had with Mama.  And Ling was born.
For #2, I wanted a girl because I loved having sisters, even if we competed to the death and I never wanted to be seen with them growing up.  I wanted Ling to have a sister and for her sister to have Ling.  And Kai was born.
By #3, knowing this would most probably be our last child, I wanted a boy because I wanted something new.  And Ren was born. 
Although I love my father, brother and husband, as well as a multitude of male friends, I didn’t understand just how much I could love a male until Ren.  In all other male relationships other factors adulterate my feelings, but when Ren first smiled (a continuation of the bonding problem I wrote about), nothing marred the fierce mother love that whooshed through me.
So happy birthday Ren-Ren!  
I tried hard to break the Chinese misogynistic son fixation, but fell in love with you anyway.  

About Kathy Tuan-MacLean

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