17 August 2006

Mark your calendars for August 26th - Living with "The Katie Effect"

[You may click on the photos to bring up the "fine print".]

I know that I should be accustomed to being the mother, to live in the knowledge that I brought forth a celebrity, to understand that I was part of greatness by sheer virtue of having given birth to a legend, on August 26th, 1983. But how could I know, fathom, possibly understand that when Katie finally made her way into this world, taking her own sweet time and arriving on "her schedule", that she would evolve into a force of nature the likes of which this world has never seen? But to be confronted by the sort of "unrest" and "chaos" that is going on in the world this past week, and to know that I was but a miniscule part of a much larger picture, humbles me when I "Stumble Upon", photos like the one I found on the Internet, a mere few minutes ago.

Sure, I knew within days after bringing her home and reconciling myself to the fact that there was no "hospital mix-up" that she was, how shall I say, "different". However, a global impact never truly crossed my mind. Well, so much for my lack of forward thinking! I should have known, should have expected, that it was never a question of would she assimilate in Manhattan, but the more pointed query should have been, "Would Manhattan survive Katie?". Obviously, the proverbial jury is still out on that one. Manhattan's probably a little confused. Welcome to my world!
As we lesser mortals might expect, though I can't speak from personal experience - having never been a national treasure - I can speak as someone who raised one and as the humble mother of a prodigy, it's not all fun and games. Though even I can't know the pressure that goes with assuming a "mantle of greatness" as Katie has had to deal with pretty much since she finally decided to take her first breath. Now that I think about it, that must have been the reason behind her hesitancy to breathe the way babies are supposed to in that delivery room, long, long, long, long ago, back in Charleston, West Virginia - CAMC Memorial Division Hospital. Even as a newborn, she had to have some sort of inkling that there was a spotlight just waiting for her to step into, already ready and waiting - with her name on it: Katie...not Katherine, Kathleen or Kathy...this was a real Katie. I wanted to keep it simple in case she had issues with spelling. When you think about what was lying in wait for her, it almost makes the rest of us feel thankful for our mere mediocrity.

Suddenly, it occurs to me, "Am I now responsible for world peace?" Everywhere I walk, protesters, seemingly out of nowhere, - protesting what I can't tell you - approach me with glaring looks - "Have you bought her a present yet? It's only six days until...you know...THE DAY!", and they don't look at me with kindness in their eyes or ask if I need an extra $1000 to make the right gift choice. It's apparent to me that if it feels as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders it's probably because, well, I have the weight of the world on my shoulders and do you know how hard it is to sleep with that kind of pressure? Yeah, thank God for chamomile tea, only I don't have time to give slumber any more than a passing consideration. Not all of those tree-hugging protesters are as harmless as they appear and while I love tomatoes in a salad, and what would spaghetti be without them, I don't like wearing them! What happened to pacifists?

When I finally got home, I flipped on the news and found this photo flashed on Katie's favorite (not!) news station, "Fox News"...apparently these three servicemen had sent a humanitarian appeal, in the form of a telegram, to Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, not to send greetings to their families or girlfriends or the last women they met in whatever port they had just sailed from, but as an "official" greeting to their icon, the woman that gives them the courage to rise each morning and fight sand fleas, rough seas and really bad food. You can imagine how stunned I was to see this photo...

So it was no surprise when the Commander-in-Chief himself somehow found my E-mail address and threatened to draft me if I didn't post his own special salutations...Here you go George, I know she'll just be thrilled beyond words. I would venture to type her expected response, but my father reads this blog and he frowns on profanity, but you get the "picture". Katie, I am just the messenger, take a deep breath and curb your enthusiasm...

I still have a little birthday shopping to do, but I'm not sure I can top GWB's greeting...knowing what this will mean to my daughter, anything more I could do feels so anti-climatic.

Katie, I have August 26th marked on my calendar - I'll see if I can get something together in honor of your special day. I'm sure you'll have enough fanfare without something from your hard-working, simple, boring mother, but I'll do the best I can.

As for me, I'm considering life as a brunette and, should that not work out, I may look into the Witness Protection Program.

We love you, Katie! I hope you have a wonderful birthday week. :-)