It was a crisp fall day when I got the wonderful news that I was pregnant with my son; shortly thereafter, however, I received a bit of information I felt more ambivalent about…he was actually due on MY birthday.
I immediately knew that was not what I preferred. To have the one day a year dedicated to celebrating ME usurped by my motherly duty to celebrate my child. So to the standard questions I steadily received for the next nine months, my stock answer was—“I just hope he/she is healthy! And also not born on the due date!”
I got a kick out of the fact that many people recoiled at this perceived “selfishness”; the archetypal mother/martyr is deeply ingrained in us. So I got my wish and my birthday came and went with no sign of the little guy…and with the “crisis” passed I had the sudden realization that being nine months pregnant in late July in North Carolina was a teensy bit UNCOMFORTABLE because of the extreme heat.
I switched from my “don’t be born yet” mantra to “alright, already—COME ON!”
And after 36 hours of excruciating back labor he finally did—a full 6 days after my celebration, giving us a nice little cushion so we can each have our turn in the spotlight. This little delay also afforded us different sun signs—my Cancer to his Leo. And a glorious Leo he is, fire to my water.
Which brings us back to the heat.
From his earliest days, my boy just loved it; never mind the air conditioned comfort of our home, he wanted to be out in the yard listening to the birds and the bugs and looking up at the sky through a canopy of leaves. While he was still too small to sit is a stroller I would strap him to my chest in a baby Bjorn (ALWAYS facing OUT so he could see, a preference he indicated in no uncertain terms) and walk for miles in the blistering heat. He wanted to be in constant motion—no cuddling with this child on your lap.
We moved to Virginia shortly before he turned one and there I pushed him in his stroller every sunny day up and down the hills of our neighborhood, sweating like the proverbial pig. Once he had mastered the art of conversation, he frequently made witty observations—a particular favorite was the day he informed me, after I had exchanged pleasantries with a tattooed construction worker wearing a bandanna on his head, that he did not think (“fink”) that was “a real pirate”.
But we also started to argue about the temperature.
The basis of the argument was this: I was pushing him up and down hills, so I wanted it to be cool; he was just sitting there doing nothing, so he preferred it to be warm. Like the fabled Miser brothers, I would extol the relative virtues of coolness while he continually sung the praises of heat.
We fought about it! It got heated, so to speak!
Around the time he turned 4 we moved to New England, so I essentially “got my way”; real heat has about a two month run here if we’re “lucky”, and that’s just the way I like it. And yes, we still argue about which is better, hot or cold. We each remain steadfastly in our own camp.
Which seems to prove, to me at least, this premise: some like it hot!
Some of us are unabashed Snow Misers, while others align with his (ill-tempered, I might add) brother, the Heat Miser. This made me wonder—do those of us who prefer the cold manifest this in other ways? Are we aloof, chilly, above it all? Are people who love the heat more passionate, more fiery?
This month our theme is “heat” and because there are about a million different degrees of it (ha, ha—see what I did there?) no two submissions were remotely alike. Your passion may burn for another person…or for gourmet cooking. Or both! Fire can consume a forest in a rage or glow with comfort from a cozy hearth. Fire power can be used for us or against us. Heat can exhaust and deflate or help us move mountains.
Heat can transform, alchemize, purify…or destroy.
Shareen and I hope our readers will “like it hot” in our August issue!
Image: The Year Without a Santa Claus Rankin/Bass Productions, 1974