The blog of a woman in paradise

Happy Birthday, D!

"I hope you don't mind that I put down in words, how wonderful life is with you in the world."

Bernie Taupin

Twenty-seven years ago, today was my 20-year high school reunion, but I wasn't there. Instead, I was in Swedish Hospital in Seattle, giving birth to my amazing son. My pregnancy was unplanned, quite accidental actually, but absolutely the most serendipitous event of my life. And I have had a life full of serendipity!

Before I get started, I need to point out one cool mathematical relationship of our ages. For the next couple of weeks, both of our ages are perfect cubes! The last time my age was a perfect cube, I was D's age.

I could write about my son's amazing accomplishments, but you can just google him if you're interested. So instead, I want to share just a few of my many wonderful memories.

  • We had an animal storybook and always had fun making the animal sounds that went with the pictures. D's favorite was the cow, he just loved to say "moo", it may have even been his first word. One day in Dominica we were on a public bus and passed a field of cows, he almost leapt out of my lap and yelled out "Moo, moo, moo!" Everyone on the bus had a great laugh.
  • When boarding a bus in Seattle, D was in the backpack, just about a year old. He peeked around my head and said "Hi" to every passenger we passed as we found a seat. Lots of laughter and smiles again.
  • During his first two years, we took him all over Dominica in the backpack, even hitchhiking in the back of trucks. Sari Sari Falls, Trafalgar Falls and Secret Beach trails were the most treacherous hikes as we passed him in the backpack from one person to the next in order to navigate the steep slippery rocks.
  • He loved to be in water, the sea, rivers, pools, and in Seattle he would spend hours in the bathtub. The first time on the beach of Puget Sound, he raced to the water, thinking it would be like the warm Caribbean sea. What a shock!
  • He never liked to wear armbands for swimming. "I can't go down!"
  • When he was older and learned to snorkel, we would dive for sand dollars at Champagne Beach. I can still see him parting a huge school of small silvery fish as he was gliding underwater.
  • Between the ages of three and ten I would read to him nearly every night before bed. One Saturday night, we stayed up until 2 a.m. because we had to finish the second Harry Potter book. The fifth book was the last one we read together. We happened to be in Seattle for the launch of the sixth book. We pre-ordered and went to the midnight party at the U of W bookstore. D stayed up all night and finished reading it by about 9 a.m.
  • We hiked to the Boiling Lake together about 15 times, but on his first trip the lake was not boiling. A crazy friend of ours wanted to swim in it and I wanted to as well. But D actually pleaded with me not to go. I was so touched that of course I stayed dry. We all watched Wolfgang have his swim complete with a full moon.
  • There were many memorable birthdays over the years. Crazy pool parties in Florida. A dive trip to the Red Sea right after his certification at 10 years old. The most fabulous Indian feast in India for his 11th birthday. (He loved the food and eating without utensils.) Two birthdays were celebrated on cruises with his Grandmother, 13th and 15th. She very generously invited us, first to Alaska and two years later to one on the North Sea.
  • I have loved doing math with him. Early on I would give him word problems to be solved mentally and algebraically. In secondary school I was his math teacher for 4 out of his 5 years. (I had to let him sleep in order to give other kids a chance to answer questions!) Over the years we have worked on some challenging problems together, but he has left me in the dust at this point. Programming is the key, he keeps telling me.
  • When we lived in Cochrane, Dominica, Middleham Falls trail was practically in the backyard. We would start the hike around 4 o'clock, jump off the rocks and snorkel in the pool until nearly dusk, then go back to the mouth of the Tou Santi Cave to watch the bats come out by the hundreds. Finally hike back using flashlights.
  • About four years ago, we spent a month together on the West Coast. I picked him up in Vancouver, BC and we eventually ended up in San Francisco where he would live for the following year. We visited friends and relatives along the way and camped at a few gorgeous spots on the Oregon and California coast.
  • In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria (Sept 2017), D was a big support. It was a tough time for me and I often called him in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. He always offered me encouragement although it was a very busy time in his new career.
  • He has visited Dominica twice since the hurricane and it has been fun to just hang out, play cards, hike, snorkel and dive with him again.

Having a child does change your life; my life has been so much richer and fuller with you in it, D. Happy Birthday, my incredible child! You will never know just how much I love you.

P.S. My son gave me this "blog" for Mother's Day in 2012 and pays to keep it going.