Mom let the freak flag fly the day I was born. All natural, no meds, completely appalling in the early 80s.

She gave birth to my older sister under Twilight sleep. We were so much cooler in the 70s. They’d just knock us out under some kind of groovy psychedelic drug that erases our memory. When we’d eventually come to, the nurse would present our baby, just before lighting our cigarette. After a day or two in the hospital, we’d load up the station wagon, put our baby on the dashboard, and make our way home to start a new life as a family.

Bliss.

Five years later, Mom had my brother. Twilight sleep was finally giving medical professionals pause, but she was still given drugs to heavily subdue the pain. Mom didn’t like it, all that lack of connection, and she started to become real granola and all natural before any of that nonsense was in fashion. She had to go underground to find things like totally useless, aluminum free deodorant. Or get breastfeeding tips because no one, I mean no one, was doing it. She milled her own grain and didn’t buy food in boxes. My only regret is she refused to believe the government’s recommendation that Frosted Flakes were a healthy, low-fat breakfast. My childhood was dreadfully unsweetened. It wasn’t easy, I can assure you. How many Little Debbie Oatmeal Crème pies have I been denied in this lifetime!?!

On this day, in 1981, Mom gravely offended her nurse when she refused any medication for my birth. She says the staff was borderline hostile. She’ll scream and scare the other patients, etc. etc. Make their job harder, etc. etc.

They weren’t wrong. During my delivery, Mom screamed as if she was auditioning for an Alfred Hitchcock movie. My dad was in the room, definitely a first—things were really progressing in the 80s. But the horrifying screams were a bit over the top for him, so he tried to slip out the door. According to legend, the nurse pulled Dad back by the collar and said under gritted teeth, “Make her take something for the pain, Mr. Lind.” To which he yelled, “I can’t! I can’t make her do anything!” before karate chopping her grip from his collar to break free down the hallway.

Anyway, this was me 39 years ago. I prefer my age be an even number, to be honest. I really liked 38. But I suppose this marks the very last year of my 30s, so it’s special in its own way. Part of it will be lived in this dumpster fire 2020, but I’m believing 2021 will be the best yet. I MEAN IT THIS TIME UNIVERSE.

We celebrated on Saturday. Quiet, but sweet. Mom and I went to a nursery called Mulhalls and she bought me a gorgeous new plant. Rob didn’t get me anything because I went to the mall last week and came back shouting “Consider this my birthday present!” while I went sideways to fit my body and all the bags down the hallway.

After we got back from Mulhalls, we put out a delicious charcuterie board and made our famous deep dish apple pie (well, it’s Ina Garten’s, but whatever). The girls quietly played around us. Rob watched football and taste tested all the great food. Dad came over after his work was through and had a beer. Mom and I planted the new tree. Drank wine on our deck. I forgot to take pictures.

Today, I’ll go for a walk, do some writing, and return some important emails. It will be the only day of the year when I won’t ask someone, “What’s the date today?” before writing out a check.

Just kidding, I haven’t written out a check in years.