Tag Archives: birthday

The magical first

FullSizeRender-6Ten years ago on Christmas Eve I gave birth to a huge son. It was unexpected as everyone had told me: ‘That’s such a tiny belly, that must be a little girl!’ Giving birth to Boris wasn’t easy. When I had been in labor for about 12 hours, Boris’ heart rate went down and doctors and nurses were preparing me to undergo whatever necessary to get him out quickly. At the same time Boris – over 9lbs. – suddenly rushed out by himself and decided to do that superman-style with his hands next to his shoulders (yes, there were no anesthesia involved). Boris was the first to make me a mom and he is the first with a lot of things.

Last week on a random Tuesday, I told him the truth about Santa, the Elves and Sinterklaas (a Dutch celebration comparable to Santa Claus). We would have informed him way earlier in the Netherlands as children stop believing when they’re about seven or eight years old. It’s the benefit of being an expat; if there are no rumors at all that he doesn’t exist, why would you question it? Boris is about to turn ten though and friends have already asked him if he still believes. How do you break this news to your child?

I officially asked him to come to his room where he sat down and looked at me with his big blue eyes. For a moment I doubted my decision. And then I just told him everything, dramatically starting with: ‘What I’m going to tell you is not nice.’ I shared that Santa doesn’t have a factory where he has toys made. That sadly, mom and dad buy the presents. Boris said: ‘I knew that mom, I’ve seen a text message from you to dad a few weeks ago.’ When I said that the Elf is not real either, Boris looked at me and asked, “But how does he move?” I could see him think ‘you lied to me!’ and at the same time I felt how I destroyed even this last bit of magic. He knew and didn’t know at the same time, he believed.

Boris was the first and he will be the first with a lot of things. The first to make Joost and I a family, the first to eat solid food and the first to walk on wobbly tiny feet. The first to swim and to see and feel the sea. The first to go to school, the first to cycle without training wheels and the first you share with that Sinterklaas isn’t real. The magic of a first child is that you experience all those things for the first time yourself as well (and learn from it in some cases). Boris taught me to focus, to love unconditionally, to be present and to be a child again. I’m experiencing it a second and third time and it is just as special, but Boris will always be the first.

Happy Birthday Boris!

Celebrate life

IMG_2733-2My granny died on July 8th, 2010, which is five years and nine days ago today. It was extremely warm, for a Dutch summer and I was extremely sad, for a mom to be for the third time. I was due to deliver baby Bobbie on the 14th of July. Lucie, our first daughter, was going to be Bobbie, but Joost didn’t think Bobbie was a good name, for a girl. That was before we both thought having a third child was not a good idea btw, but if you start reasoning to have a third, you will find enough reasons not to go for it.

The 14th started with me riding a very heavy Dutch bike with both Boris and Lucie in it to buy shoes for Lucie. We quickly bought them (the 18-months-old was still easy going fashion-wise back then) and when I was about to ride home, my sister phoned me: ‘Mom is in the hospital, nothing serious, I don’t think you need to come over.’
She thought, I thought, we all thought that mom was stressed, sleep deprived and heartbroken because she lost her mom just a week before. Grief must have been the reason for a heavy heart, for chest-pains, for the signs of heart problems. Right?

Wrong. I went to the hospital to find my mom attached to a variety of machines. The doctors were running tests on her and all we could do was wait. When I quickly walked out to park the car in a more appropriate parking lot, my sister phoned again: ‘You have to get over here, something is very, very wrong!’ I rushed in – as far as you can rush when you’re 40 weeks pregnant – to find my mom attached to even more machines and surrounded by a lot of people in long white coats. Five minutes later she was transported to another hospital, the sirens were loud and a team of heart surgeons was already waiting for her.

Turned out she had an aorta rupture, but not completely, because that would have been fatal. The doctors explained that the aorta basically consists of an ‘inner and outer tire’ and only the inner one was partly damaged. It was a very critical situation. We were standing at her bed and my mom was already drugged to get her blood pressure as far down as possible. She told me later that she believed that she was telling us not to worry and she also thinks she winked at my husband and my sisters forever-fiancé to make them feel at ease. Of course she didn’t.

She did survive the 8-hour surgery though. Three days later, Bobbie was born. I’m forever grateful for being able to celebrate two birthdays this week. Happy fifth birthday to Bobbie and happy fifth (re-)birthday to my amazing mom!

Oh and Bobbie was and still is a real Bobbie; positive, energetic, super sweet and she might be an actress one day…