Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thanks for the Memories
This has been a week of lamentation and elation, all at the same time. Like most mothers sending their children off to kindergarten for the first time, I found myself looking at my 5-year-old with fresh eyes as he strapped on his oversized backpack and headed into his "big kid" school.
He was no longer the little boy in footed pajamas. No. Now he was a tall lanky kid branching out on his own. Where had the time gone? Just yesterday I was delivering this boy by emergency Cesarian, praying he would be okay. When finally his tiny body was placed in my arms I felt a swirl of emotion – disbelief, exhaustion, joy, fear – many of the feelings I felt Monday watching him leap out of my carefully guarded nest.
I'll never forget the first day J.T. and I were left alone with each other in the hospital room. The family had decided to let us bond, and my husband headed home for a much-needed shower. In the silence of that sterile environment, I spent hours just looking at this tiny blessing, this miracle I never thought I would be able to experience.
I had spent the last ten years battling endometriosis, a vicious disease that attacks the scarred tissue in the female body, most often around her reproductive organs. After two surgeries to correct the problem, the prognosis was a fifty-fifty shot that I may or may not be able to conceive. So, to say I was overwhelmed by this new man in my life is an understatement.
I stroked his tiny fingers, counting each one. Time passed with me spending countless minutes examining each feature, from his extra long eyelashes to the unique swath of a birth mark on his ankle. He was mine. He was ours. At that moment, I whispered a prayer to God: "Please, don't let me screw this up. I know he's just on loan to me from You, so I will need your guidance."
And we have been guided, Dan and I, in raising our little tornado of energy. He's funny, smart, challenging, hard headed (by birth right), and extremely creative. When our second son was added to the family nearly two years ago, I knew the roller coaster was about to get even loopier. And it has.
So far, the greatest experiences of my life have been tied up in these children. As I kissed J.T. one last time to say goodbye, he barely looked back. He ran into his classroom with vigor, exactly what I had hoped for. As for me, I fought back a few tears, not for the present, but for the past, the tiny moments I'll never get back. There will never be another night when I can hold him like a little bundle in my arms and stare at this beautiful creature before me. I will probably never be allowed to rock him to sleep at night any more.
No, these are new days. These upcoming years will be filled with heartbreaks to mend and hurt feelings to soothe. They will be days of soccer tournaments and sleep overs, first loves and first kisses. I'm looking forward to them all, even though it means my baby is now a boy.
But, for a woman who never knew if she could experience such a treasured day as her child's first day of school, I say thanks to God for the memories ... past and future.