Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everything he will become...

Twelve years ago, this night, I lied terrified in a hospital bed. I was in full labor, awaiting the arrival of my baby boy. I had no concept as to the change my life would take in this moment. I loved my child as he grew inside me, but nothing prepares you for the life altering moment when your baby is placed in your arms. Everything changes. It may sound cheesy or cliche, but it is true. Love isn't real until this moment. Faith, joy, hope, fear, none of these bear weight until that instant.

I still live in that heightened reality, where everything matters more. My baby boy is now past my shoulder, although he still sits on my lap in the evenings, even if just for a moment to say goodnight. And this evening I cannot help but feel a little reflective...

My baby cried in my arms at night for the first year. I rocked him to sleep and sang him lullabies.

When he was two he learned to make me smile, and centered his days around that goal.

By his third birthday, he was already my teacher, instructing me on how to enjoy the simplest things in life. His unbinding love for everything around him just radiates from his soul.

On his fourth birthday he began to see me, not just as Mommy, but as another person in the world with him, one that could be his best friend.

Once he turned five I knew my days with him were going too quickly, and as he went into kindergarden, I cherished how tightly he held my hand. At the time I thought it was because he was afraid; now I know it was because he knew I was.

At six he had conquered dragons and wizards as he immersed from behind his books. He was already my hero, but now was finding some of his own.

At seven he found love in doing what I had loved. He played soccer; he wanted to learn the drums. He wanted to absorb all the knowledge around him and found me to be the smartest in the world.

Of course that didn't last, as eight came too quickly, with the friends and the playtime after school. He came into his own that year, finding what he liked and loving me between stops at practice and rides to friends homes.

By the time we celebrated his ninth birthday, he had learned about loss and grief. He understood more about faith than I ever could. His emotions became tangible and his feet stood firmly on the rock.

Once he turned ten I began to try to hold on a little tighter, to keep my baby boy a boy for little while longer. It doesn't work that way, I know. He had some medical scares this year and everyday became more precious. You have never feared until you have seen your own child in danger, or in pain. I watched my son seize on the floor in front me, then in the ambulance, and again at the hospital. It was the longest day, and then weeks, of my life. He was scared of the darkness that took him away for a few brief seconds at a time, but he believed that I would make it light again. He never doubted. For just a little while, he became my baby again in those weeks. Lots of lullabies and rocking, sleep overs and giggling. He reminded me he still was a child that needed his Mom. Through all of it, the testing, the challenges, and then the responsibility of living with a condition, he found his courage. And he learned how to share it with me.

That year was gone so quickly and at eleven he had emerged a responsible young man. Still young, but no longer a boy. Unfortunately, this past year was my turn to be scared of the dark. He held my hand through my sickest days and kept my spirits up in between. He prayed for me, he cried with me, he made me laugh and centered his days around that goal once more. I truly believe he hugged the sickness right out of me. Even on days when I didn't want to fight, he gave me his strength and made sure I used it. He even sang me a lullaby when I couldn't stop hurting. Loving him could make my pain disappear.

He is my light, my strength, and my legacy. And just when you think you couldn't love anything more, you get to have another year...

As I am about to post this, my son will be twelve. I am so proud of who I am... because I am his Mom; and at least for one more year, his Mommy. I am so proud of who he is, and everything he will become. Great things have already come from this young man, and I brace myself for what great things he has yet to do.

In happiness,

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