Friday, March 4, 2011

Birth Certificates

My oldest kids are 2 years and 8 months old, and until today I didn't have a birth certificate for any of my kids. Apparently at some hospitals the paperwork is done so that the birth certificate is automatically mailed sometime after the baby is born. I guess that doesn't happen at my hospital. I did go home with paperwork telling me how to get the birth certificates, but I just never did. I had put it off for so long that I was actually worried that I may have missed the window to get the birth certificate.

When we were growing up, my mother treated our birth certificates like they might spontaneously combust at any minute. I don't remember ever being allowed to actually touch mine. I think she whispered "birth certificate" when she referred to them. And she was constantly inferring that really bad things would happen if we ever lost our birth certificates. I'm sure that my mom still has my birth certificate put up in some place very safe and that, most likely, no one but my mom has actually touched them.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I learned that you can just go down to the county health department and get a birth certificate. I assumed that this must be some inferior copy of a birth certificate and perhaps not something that was accepted for schools and other important things where birth certificates were required. So, I called down to the state vital records department and made a few inquiries. After cross-examining the lady on the phone and determining that one may indeed get as many original certified copies of a birth certificate as one wants to pay for, which are not copies or inferior, I finally just asked her why my mom always acted like it would be the end of the world if we lost ours. She laughed and said she didn't know but her mom was the same way.

So this afternoon I made the trip to the county health department to pick up the kids' birth certificates. To my surprise, I was in and out in about 15 minutes. It was overall a really pleasant experience.

I was a little surprised at the wave of emotions that rolled over me as I stood there holding my four kids' birth certificates. It felt official. It was as if I can really say now that I have four kids and that they are actually mine, because now I am a mom with birth certificates. I still haven't decided whether I will let them touch them or not, or if I'll brainwash them into thinking that very bad things, whatever those things may be, will happen if they lose their birth certificates. Or maybe I can wait until one day when my mom comes over and let the kids loose with their birth certificates, which would inevitably end up destroyed. That may be too much for my mom to handle, but it'd be pretty funny to watch.

6 comments:

Janine said...

I am laughing at this because MY mom did the same thing! In fact, mom said my birth certificate was photo sensitive or something like that!!! As a kid I thought (and maybe this is true...I don't know!) that you could only open the certificate and look at it a set number of times and then it would dissolve...funny the things we believe as kids!

Cathy said...

This is hilarious! My mom was the same way. Maybe something terrible WOULD happen if you lost a birth certificate in the 70s. Anyway, we did get our kids' automatically mailed to us, but I'm so glad to know that it is easy to get additional certified copies, because I didn't inherit my mother's birth-certificate-protecting gene and there is definitely a chance I won't know exactly where ours are exactly when I need them. Congrats on your positive experience with bureaucracy (and on having the birth certificates!)

The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

Sweetest post ever. I have one last birth certificate to get for the dumplin. Then I guess I will be official.

Classy 'n Ivan's Mom said...

BAHAHAHAHAH! My mom wasn't the one that pulled this, it was my dad! Dad's the American, though (Mom is Japanese), so I think that was passed down to him by his parents. I'm not sure how all of that works in Japan, but Mom never freaked about it.

I think that has passed on to me just a little because of how I act about my horses' papers. I don't have kids yet, so I treat my horses a little like they're my kids. I freaked a little when Mark was looking through them and getting them out of order, and I made him put them back in the safe, LOL.

I didn't know that it was that easy to get copies of your birth certificate, either. Makes me rethink how I'll address it with my future kids...

JoLynn said...

I vote for Plan B...then post the video for us to enjoy!

Adrienne said...

Don't feel bad Heather, 2 years later and no birth certificates here either. It's always one of those things I mean to do but just never get around to doing. I am now inspired to get it done!