That Baby Book Again on My Birthday December 8th

Now that I am a regular reader of my own baby book, I thought I would share this entry from my mother on December 8th, my birthday, the year of the burn, “Anne spent her 2nd birthday in St . Vincent’s Hospital. We didn’t recall to her it was her birthday, but every few days took a gift up for her.” It’s unclear whether I spent my 2nd birthday or my 3rd birthday in the hospital — my mother’s entries had some inconsistencies on the years. It’s understandable of course, the woman was going through some rather traumatic stress in her own right. When I think about this, I might have done exactly the same thing with my small child if faced with a similar situation. I mean, why remind them of something they probably wouldn’t understand anyway. In any event, happy birthday to me. How would you handle a situation like this with a 2- or 3-year old?

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Happy Burn-iversary!

Today is the anniversary of my ill-fated climb up the kitchen stove, according to the best research source I currently have — my blue baby book. Without evidence-based confirmation from a verified medical record, which I may or may not ever find, I rely on my mother’s elegant script in the baby book, where she marks this date in an eerily understated entry, “My oh my. Another big scare with Anne……”. This is the first year in the more than 40 since that I’ve even known the date — the first time I’ve looked in that ole baby book to check it.

Parents Notes- Mom's description of accident

Putting on my detective hat and with the not-so-clever use of the Internet, I see that November 24th way-back-when was a Tuesday just two days before Thanksgiving. I wonder so many things — what were their Thanksgiving plans that week? Who was cooking? Did their plans change when I went into the hospital for a 2 1/2 month stay? Did they visit that day? Was I in surgery on Thanksgiving? Did they cry when it happened?

To date, I’ve interviewed a number of my parents’ friends and relatives and no one remembers that specific week, those specific activities. In the end and in the big picture, I know it doesn’t matter so much but it is still a nagging curiosity even though I feel more like a voyeur to my own story than its main character. Is that how I cope? I’ve always been expert at compartmentalizing and I wonder if this is why.

In all of this, the most important piece is that I’ve found resolution and peace. In the most fortunate of ways, I heard my parents own words many years later. That they wished they had spoken of this earlier. That they loved me. That it changed their lives far more than mine. I’m lucky this way. Many people for many reasons don’t open this door. Have you?