A Frigid Birthday
Mother always remembers the date of my birth. Every year, after the winter solstice, she would chatter about how cold it was when I was born. The day before my birthday, the whole family gathered together around the fire. Mother felt slight labor pains, but since there were still a few days left before the expected due date, she assumed that I was just naughtily protesting her fatigue during the day.
However, at midnight, my mother was awakened by throes and convulsions. Father carried her on his bike, rushing to the downtown hospital, but I couldn’t wait any longer to see the world.
“It was freezing cold, and you were born on the road on our way to the hospital. You and I lay down on the icy hard ground, waiting for the midwife to come. We stayed there for about … maybe half an hour? I cuddled you so tightly, fearing that you would freeze to death. I was panicked—I didn’t want anything bad to happen to you,” said Mother.
When the midwife came with my father on his bike, Mother had passed out because of the coldness, but she still cuddled me tightly in her arms. After cutting the umbilical cord, the midwife lifted me upside down and spanked my butt three times. Finally, I burst out crying.
Mother said she was too numb to say anything, but she will never forget the floods of tears that froze on her face.
(From Food and Life, April 2016. Translation: Yu Lan)