Happy Birthday to Me

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
–Mahatma Gandhi

Another birthday passed overnight, leaving me in a contemplative mood.  I was reminded of what a friend told me long ago, when I was pregnant with my second daughter and filled with doubts about my abilities and worthiness as a parent.  She believed that before they were born, our children picked who they wanted to be their mother.   This was a reassuring concept in one way, and it gave me a warm feeling to think that maybe my daughters had chosen me.   It was more arduous for me to apply that concept to myself.  Had I really decided to pick someone with a severe mental illness to be my mother?  Why would I have chosen someone who faced so many obstacles that she was unable to hug me or tell me she loved me?   There is no way to know whether such a concept is  true.  It is one of those fairy tales that we chose to believe in order to comfort ourselves, and therein lies its value.

All I can say now is that I do not regret all of the blessings I have had as a result of being born into this family, and I would not trade places with anyone.

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