Susie Turned 13 at 13:13

Today is Susie’s 13th birthday, but being a stickler for accuracy, I didn’t consider her to have become a teenager until 1:13 p.m., which is the actual time of her birth.  (I do the same thing for myself.  My time of birth was 12:34 in the afternoon.  Very easy to remember: one two three four.)  I’ve neither lived in Europe nor served in the military, so the 13:13 idea didn’t spring to mind right away; I think of it as 1:13 p.m.

My urge to chronicle manifested itself at Susie’s birth.  Steph delivered Susie by Cesarean section after 38 hours of labor at Grant Hospital.  Her midwife Tanya (Susie’s godmother, and a dear friend of ours since before the birth) and I were at Steph’s head during most of the delivery, and Steph’s belly was hidden from view by a sterile shield and screen.  When the doctor actually delivered Susie, Tanya grabbed the single-use camera from the shirt pocket of my scrubs, leaned over the screen, and snapped the picture–Susie in full scream, still connected by umbilical cord.

I grabbed the camera from Tanya, and turned around to the wall clock and took a picture of it.  However, easily the most memorable picture is when I am holding Susie, who has been cleaned off and wrapped in blankets, in front of Steph.  At the time the picture was taken, Steph was asking, “Have they cut me open yet?  Have they cut me open?”  I was answering the question by holding the newborn Susie in front of her.

Thirteen is a milestone year, like those that are multiples of 5 or 10.  If we were Jewish, Susie would have been bat mitzvah a year already–considered adult in the Jewish community.  The beginning of the years that end with -teen are significant, and she’s gotten hers off to a good start.  She and Steph baked and frosted a cake, and Susie’s best friend G is here.  I’m typing this entry while they’re in the next room playing Mario Party 8 on the Wii.  They’re going to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince later on tonight.

Steph has been the smart one.  She’s exhausted, and has an early day tomorrow, so she’s opted to hit the sack early.  One of the advantages of our sleeping separately is that I can retire at whatever hour I choose and not have to worry about waking her.

Susie and I went to see Easy A at Studio 35 last week.  Tomorrow night, we’re going there for a free showing of The Bicycle Thief.  The British Film Institute says it’s one of 50 films that you should see before you turn 14.  I’m 33 years late, and Susie will make it with a year to spare.  I posted a notice about it on Facebook, and one person had a very astute observation.  If this is a film you should see pre-age 14, why is its only showing at 9:30 p.m. on a school night?  I also doubt it ever appeared on The CBS Children’s Film Festival.  (Whenever I tuned into that on Saturday, they always seemed to be showing The Red Balloon.)

The birthday girl, in a picture taken last summer.
She’s holding the infant daughter of her first babysitter.