Today is my birthday.
On this day 46 years ago, a teen mother, a recent bride, lay in the company of strangers. A room full of military wives all delivering their babies on a base in Aurora, Colorado.
No privacy but still very much alone.
She had worked every day of her pregnancy despite suffering from Toxemia. There would be no bed rest for her.
She had to make life better for her unborn baby.
Her child wouldn't grow up in the projects like she had. She wouldn't grow up poor like she had. She wouldn't work as a maid for others as she had.
This teen mother had different plans for her baby's life than any she'd ever known.
She was scared. Scared and alone.
She didn't know where babies came from. Her family didn't talk about such things.
What did they talk about?
For her entire pregnancy, they talked about her decision to marry a black man. A decision they didn't approve of. Her pregnancy hadn't been planned but marriage was the right thing to do for her child.
It was the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Thailand and it would be months before he would return to his young family, if at all.
On this day, in a room full of strangers, one of the babies wouldn't make it. In the desperate attempt to save that baby a flurry of activity errupted, the calls for medical support rang out, "The McReynolds baby isn't breathing!"
An ashamed grandmother overheard the commotion. In that moment, her heart softened. Her prayers changed.
"Please dear Lord, I don't care what color this baby is, let her live. I will love her."
On this day, I think of my beloved mom. She gave me a life like none she'd ever known. I was educated and became a lawyer. I traveled the world. I lived a life dripping with privilege and opportunity. A far cry from growing up in the projects.
On my birthday, I think of you mom and oh how I miss you. You were always the first person to call to tell my birth story. The first person to express pride in the woman and mother that I had become.
On this day of the count down, I will be kind to myself and spend my day being a mom.
I learned from the best.
I miss you mom. On this day, and every day, I stand in your light.