For most, Labor Day means a day off of work and the unofficial end of summer.
For me, it is a reminder of two of my life’s blessings (there are four, actually). Twenty-seven years ago on Labor Day, I labored, truly. I woke up early, feeling the twinges of pain one’s body sends when it is getting ready to give birth. I called my OB just after 6 am who advised I stay home and wait a while, as it was my first delivery. He was going “off service” since he had been “on-call” over night. This increased my anxiety of course, but he reassured me. Through out the day, I was restless. I remember trying to watch the Jerry Lewis Telethon on T.V.. That and the U.S. Open Tennis Competition were fixtures on Labor Day weekend back then.
After laboring for many hours, more than some women but less than others, I gave birth on the evening of Labor Day. This is what Labor Day means to me.
Not a day off
Not the end of summer
Not unions or worker’s rights
But the start of a new chapter in my life. A chapter as a mother. This role, mother, has been without question, the greatest and most fulfilling job of my life. I went on to repeat the labor experience twice more, once again around labor day, but not on the holiday itself. The holiday had passed because my oldest was in school by then, and his brother, also born later in the fall five years later, was at a dear friend’s house. My oldest and youngest son’s are born only a day apart. Our middle son, gets another month before we celebrate his birthday. All are blessings.
The celebration of Labor Day each year lets me recall the blessings of labor: a lifetime of love, and amazement watching three baby boys grow into wonderful young men. A celebration of another year and recalling the labor that bore the greatest of life’s blessings.
That’s what Labor Day means to me.