Twelve years ago, my life changed beyond recognition.
On December 16th at dinner time, my first born made his way into the world, roughly 36 hours before he was scheduled.
I was a 17 year old senior in high school, a month from graduation, when I discovered I was pregnant. Looking back, that should have been a clear sign that nothing would go as planned.
Plans for graduation parties and senior trips were halted and altered. Summer plans for moving were put on hold. Even birth plans were altered when we found out Little Man was breach. We charted a new plan, scheduling a C-section for the morning of Little Man’s grandfather’s birthday.
He decided he wanted to be early.
On an icy Saturday when I should have been going to see Dude, Where’s My Car? in theaters, I instead headed to the hospital. My water had broke and contractions I hadn’t prepared for had started.
As he’s done repeatedly in his life, Little Man started the party early then delayed his entrance. Nearly seven hours later, I heard his first cries. Because of medical complications (I never do anything half-ass) it was nearly another six hours before I was able to hold my sweet darling without assistance.
From his very first moments, he was an easy baby. He didn’t cry, he whimpered. He slept so soundly the nurses even commented on it. Our only struggle was breast-feeding. Due to some fluke, he and I just couldn’t make it happen. On day three we switched to bottles. And while I don’t have anything against breast-feeding or mothers who choose that path, the lactation consultant who lectured me on all I was depriving my son of can kiss my ass. Little Man has thrived his entire life, always in the 90+ percentile on the growth charts and rarely sick, even with the common cold. (He clearly didn’t get my medical genes.)
If I close my eyes, I’m still in that hospital bed, whispering sweet nothings to the most handsome baby I’ve ever laid eyes on. How twelve years have passed, I can’t tell you.
My sweet Little Man-
Mama remembers your very first smile (It was NOT gas, damnit!), the first time you opened your eyes to look up at me. I remember the first time you flopped over onto your tummy and that adorable Army style crawl you used to do. I remember when you used to get up on your hands and knees and rock your little bottom back and forth, trying so very had to get some forward momentum.
I remember when you turned into a monkey and learned how to crawl out of your crib and your play-pen. I remember your first tentative steps at Nana’s house at your first birthday party. I remember how you loved Bob the Builder, Finding Nemo, and Spongebob. I remember each transformation your room took as your favorite cartoons changed.
I have never been prouder of anything that I’ve done in my life. You are the greatest parts of me. I have twelve years of memories and I know there are so many more to make. And though I can’t be by your side for all of them, I will always be here to listen as you share them with me.
Thank you, Son, for changing my life. You save me every single day.
**I am not callous enough to completely ignore the recent tragedy. I have chosen, however, to not discuss my feelings on the topics facing our nation, out of respect for the families that are suffering. I did write this short piece for Band Back Together.