37 years ago, my brother and I were the first set of twin boys born at Curry General Hospital in the stormy Oregon coast town of Gold Beach.
As the story goes, my parents were married on the glorious cliffs of San Sebastian Point. They made their home in a small house on Hunter Creek away from the hustle and bustle of town life. During my mother's pregnancy, she would walk the few miles to town for her check-ups, not knowing there were two lives growing inside of her. During their initial discovery of a baby's heartbeat, my brother and I were lying on top of one another, so only one heartbeat was detected. It wasn't until she was quite far along in her pregnancy that there were discovered two babies tucked away.
After some minor complications, she was ordered to bed rest....no more miles of walking. Her doctor and friend told her to especially avoid the the action of sweeping to keep labor at bay. However, one day as she lay in bed "resting," she stared at the floor with its dust and dirt and couldn't handle it any more - - she arose and swept it and appeased her need for cleanliness. Shortly after, we demanded to be born.
We were born very early and had to be rushed many miles away along the dark stormy coast to the larger town of Coos Bay, where we stayed for weeks, growing slowly and gaining our strength. It was a time of wonder, joy, unknown, a time of fear, and a time of upheaval for my parents: an adventurous detour neither asked for. Their home, ready and waiting for these new lives to fill it with their small sounds and wide eyes, was almost 2 hours away.
Because of our tiny stature, we had to remain in incubators for weeks with human touch solely laced through plastic walls. My mother, longing to hold us, nurse us, and bond with us, had had enough. Against the advice of the hospital, my mother walked in one day and demanded her babies. She took us home and nursed us to health, filling our bellies and hearts with good things.
37 years later I returned to celebrate my 2nd birthday in this town of my nativity.
As I walked the beach, listening to the crashing of the waves and quiet brush of sea grass, I couldn't help but picture their brief life here...
Young love, young life, making their way.
The unknown of labor, the spoken and unspoken joy of birth, the fear of lives so small, the hope of a future filled with good things.
I felt a connection there among the wilds of the coast.
37 years and now a family of my own...my own children, a small part of the mother and the father who gave life to me, staring at this same ocean, this same creek, this same home, this same town. Family, also birthed in love, growing in adventure.
My parents' story in Gold Beach was brief, but full. It is intriguing to explore places of history from your own story....especially those places only known by the tales told to you. As we travel these many roads this year connecting to many stories, both our own and those of others, they are riddled with the themes we are all familiar with: love, light, loss, fear, hope, adventure, joy. Like many birthdays past, this birthday brought with it a spirit of reflection of what has been and what will be. I so often miss the beauty of it all in the moment - only to see it days, weeks, or years past. As I travel on to 38, it is my hope to embrace the now and revel in the wonder of it all.