The day I was born it rained.
If April showers really do bring May flowers, someone forgot to tell God to plant some at my house. The exterior of the home in which I was born was a direct reflection of the hostility on the inside.
Outside, the ground was tough, compact, and deep red – Carolina clay they call it. While our neighbors’ yards boasted beautiful hydrangeas and manicured grass, ours was glaring with mud and weeds - much like an angry pimple on an otherwise porcelain face.
On this April month, however, as I screamed and wailed from the bedroom at my own jarring entrance into the world, a vine of sweet honeysuckle from the neighbor’s yard had gently wound its way through the chain link fence that separated our world from the rest, and wafted its sweet fragrance through the open window.
At 17, Ann became my Mama in hopes that my presence would secure her world and tidy up the loose, fraying ends between herself and her young husband.
While the pregnancy had been just what she had hoped, with gifts and attention and praise, the baby wasn’t what she expected. I wasn’t what she expected. And while I lay there screaming on the soft loose skin that had been my home for 9 months, my Mama looked down at me with regret:
As a girl I would, undoubtedly, demand attention, turn heads, and steal the affections that belonged elsewhere. To my Mama I should have been a boy.
On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot. On April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. And on April 14, 1960 I was born Mary Lynn Toney to Ann and Ben, both just babies themselves.
My name, Mary Lynn, was my Aunt’s name. I never met this Aunt, my Mama’s baby sister, since she died when she was two years old. I suppose that’s fitting. I already share my birthday with national and international tragedies, why not a personal one as well.
When tragedy threatens to steal her first born Lynn finds herself reliving every disappointment, every heartache, every loss, and every layer of guilt from her past. Pain upon pain twists its way around her heart leaving little room for anything but the bitter taste of anger and hate. But God isn’t done. He has hope, miracles and redemption in store. If only she dare see it.