She referred to Paul's birth in 1952, on the darkest day of the year. At 41, she thought childbearing had passed her by, my father too. He was 39.
I imagine a snowy day. Contractions vibrating through her body, alongside the fear of motherhood. The old Chevy pulling up the road, snow no obstacle. My mother likely gripped my dad's hand, cutting off circulation and striking a new brand of anticipation in him.
After Paul arrived their lives changed dramatically. He never stopped moving. Paul had his nose in everything, and tested the patience of more than just his mother. He didn't slow down until he was made to by an accident that left him in a coma for four months.
Then Paul became much slower, in his walk, his talk. For forty years he lived a different life than what his parents had hoped for him on a snowy Utah night.
My brother Paul is buried with my mom and dad. The three of them together again--a nuclear family. And I think about the softness of a newborn. Perhaps my father cupping Paul's head as my mother held him. Her cheeks ruddy with exhaustion.
Happy birthday Paul. You were a gift to your parents and you are a gift to me today. I will honor your presence in my life as the blessing you are and were.