When I was born 34 years ago, I tried to breathe too soon. This story is one of my Someone’s favorites about me. He gets teary eyed and smiles and pulls my head to his chest and giggles a little. It makes me like that story, too.
What happened after I tried to breathe too soon, is that I inhaled fluid to my lungs. I was stuck in Baby ICU while they sucked it out with what I like to imagine was a tiny turkey baster, and then I had to wait days until I was allowed to breathe by myself again. For a lot of years, I believed that this was another story about how I messed up, how I was overzealous, how I couldn’t get it right like everyone else, and ended up holding myself back because of it.
I’m always quick to hop the nest. And then I am caught midair, wingless, falling fast to the ground. It gets me into trouble.
The story looks different at 34. My whole life is centered around breathing. Yoga, singing, keeping my cool. There is no one who understands the importance of a deep breath better than I do. It would make sense that I couldn’t wait to get started, to get my lungs full of what is next, to come out ready to wail.
And then, to wait. To have tried– excited and untamed– and then to be still, waiting and watching and learning what it really means to breathe. I didn’t mess up. I took a chance. And then, before I knew I needed healing, I was being healed. I’ve been breathing ever since, for 34 years, with only a few hiccups.
I didn’t learn my lesson. I didn’t learn to watch where I step, to pause before breathing. But I don’t think that’s the lesson anymore. It’s one of my favorite stories about me. A little no-nothing baby who is ready before she is ready, taking a gulp of whatever is next before anyone can tell her so.
Way to go, kid.