My Special Day

“Thank you, Cherise. I’m sure the baby is going to love it!”, I crooned, eying the yellow blanket with both appreciation and disappointment. It was beautiful, really it was. The fluffy duck print was adorable and I couldn’t wait to wrap my soon-to-be-born son in it. But I could’nt help but feel a little annoyed to open yet another baby gift today. After all, it was my birthday, not the baby’s. Even though I loved the little gem inside me to bits already, I was a little miffed about today’s celebration. I was dying to have lovely brunch with just my best gals to celebrate my 30th, not a repeat of last months baby shower. Besides, we were already swamped with baby stuff and I was really looking forward to some gifts just for myself.

I parted my lips to suggest we have a second round of dessert (mostly because I was looking forward to devouring 5 more cupcakes), when a sharp pang jabbed at my lower back. I held back a grunt and instead, gritted my teeth against the pain. That was the fourth time that had happened in the past hour.

The baby wasn’t due for another week, but my luck had been so poorly lately that I wouldn’t doubt that the universe would put me into labour on my own birthday. It’s not that I was jealous of the baby and I sharing a birthday, nor was I particularly annoyed at the thought of sharing the special day, but this was the first time in a long time that one day would be purely for me.

Every birthday for the last 7 years had belonged to other people’s special moments-engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements- just about every celebration you could think of.

“Come on, I still have my gift for you”, came a deep velvety voice nearby. I looked up to see my husband Oliver smiling down at me, a single hand outstretched. I returned the smile and placed a hand in his.

“Is it more baby clothes? Or perhaps a new set of diapers- as if we don’t have enough”, I joked as he lifted me from the couch. It took more effort than it usually did to pull myself from the plush seat, with the belly in the way and what not.

The second I lifted myself from the seat I felt a light popping sensation in my hip, nothing dissimilar to the usual feeling of joints clicking. What was not familiar in any way though was the wetness that suddenly tricked down my leg, a feeling that gave me mild discomfort and annoyance. Oh no, you’ve got to be kidding me. There’s no way in hell that was my-

“Katherine, did your water just break”, Oliver asked, looking down at me with wide eyes.

“No, no. It’s nothing. Now what’s this you were saying about a gift-“

“Kat! That was definitely your water breaking. We need to get to the hospital”, Oliver said, interrupting my rather poor cover up.

“The baby can wait a couple of seconds. Let’s finish up with the party first”, I said, already knowing it was the wrong response.

Before Oliver could reply, my older sister was at his side, the bright pink hospital bag we had packed two days ago in her hand. Rachel held the bag up with one hand and a pair of keys in the other.

“In the car, Kat. Now. We are going to the hospital. The party can wait”, she said sternly, gesturing at me to follow. I held up a hand that hopefully told her to ‘hang on a sec’ and turned to Oliver with a sweet smile.

“Before we go, how about that gift?”, I asked, batting my eyes up at him.

He rolled his eyes and picked up a pale blue gift bag I hadn’t noticed he had placed on the coffee table beside us.

“If it makes you get out the door faster then here”, he said, holding it out.

I snatched it from him and excitedly pulled the tissue paper out of it. Nestled at the bottom was a box. When I pulled it out the words scrawled on the side of it made my heart sink in disappointment.

“Oh… we needed a baby monitor”, I mumbled, already feeling tears prickle my eyes. I wasn’t sad about it being another baby gift, I was more so disappointed….okay, maybe a little sad too.

“Open it”, Oliver said.

“No, it’s okay. We can set it up lat-“

“I had a whole thing planned but we are kinda short on time. Just open it”

I nodded and fumbled to open the box, fully expecting to see the baby monitor inside.

Sitting inside however was a smaller green box. I frowned in confusion and pulled it out before flicking it open. In the box was a beautiful gold chain with a circular gold pendant. Stamped into the pendant was an image of two marigolds.

“Oh my gosh. It’s beautiful Oli!”, I exclaimed stroking the pendant with one finger.

“Turn it over”

I flipped the pendant over and my heart squeezed when I saw the words engraved on the back.

‘For my Katherine on her special day’

And then underneath that it had the date: ‘October 8th’.

I clawed the necklace out of the box and placed it on my neck, a dopey smile fixed on my face the entire time. This was the best birthday gift I had ever received-ever. Not only was it a beautiful piece of jewellery, but it acknowledged just how special the day was to me. No matter how silly I had sounded obsessing over my birthday as an adult on the brink of having her first child, Oliver had listened when I told him how important the day was to me. This gift meant the world to me.

I looked up at Oliver and whispered a ‘thank you’, my emotions in too much of a frenzy to say more. Then I turned to my sister and gestured to the keys in her hand.

“Okay now we can go to the hospital. Y’all have no idea how much pain I’m in right now”

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