Thursday, September 11, 2008

Three

The night you were born, exhausted and exhilarated, I held you tight in my arms. I didn't want to let you go, and together, with your father sitting next to us, we greeted your new family. The pictures show as one by one they approached the bed, marveling at your tiny pink face, laughing at that incredible shock of dark hair.

They had all heard me as I moaned from the depths of my being, struggling to bring you into this world. Had that merely been just a half hour ago? Once you were out, I felt renewed, reborn - and so achingly exhausted that it took all my strength to make it through that bath I so desperately needed. By the time I was fresh and clean and snuggled in bed, you were back from being measured and weighed and poked and prodded.

It didn't register when they told me you were small. You looked so beautiful and perfect to me that I saw nothing wrong with you. Most importantly, you fit perfectly in my arms, as if they had been made for you and had spent all those years just waiting for this moment.

But you were small. Small enough to cause concern. I didn't know then that had you been born in a hospital, they would have whisked you off to the NICU, where you would have been placed in an icubator and observed. I'm so glad you weren't born in a hospital, because there was no place you belonged at that moment but in my arms. I somehow knew that while you were small, you were fine - healthy and robust. But that critical first night required that we measure your glucose levels and temperature every hour. In-between, though, you were mine, safe in my arms.

That night - you and me warm and snuggled in the peaceful blue room - is forever etched in me. You slept soundly against my chest, mewing when the midwife would wake you to do another test. I'm not sure if we nursed much - all I have is the sensation of you in my arms, pressed against me, while I struggled through my first night of the anxious, fear-filled sleep only a mother knows.

Remembering all this as I look at the incredible three-year-old that you are today, I believe that cliché about time flying and wonder where it all went. My baby is less so every day, replaced by a boy so wonderful that I ache. You are everything I wanted in a son, everything I ever dreamed of when I would think about wanting a family. There is nothing I would change about you, nothing I would trade for. Even with all your stubborness and mischievousness , you are the perfect son for me.

These last couple of years, but in particular these last months, have not panned out as I'd hoped for us. I think often of all I'd planned and dreamed, of the way life develops in ways we can imagine but still hope will never happen to us, of the way my choices will affect you. I think of our mutual transitions, our mutual struggles, and the ones we must survive on our own. If there is one thing I hope will remain consistent, one thing I hope you never doubt or question, is the deep, abiding love I have for you. It is this love - this love that is made up of joy and pain and sadness and glimmers of hope - that guides all that I do now.

Amidst all this uncertainty I want to give you stability, laughter and real happiness. I want to offer you what I never had and even still the things I dreamed that right now can't be.

Amidst all this uncertainty I would give anything to have that first night again; to relive that moment when everything was perfect and we knew complete joy. When all my love and all my pain became one and ushered you into this world, into my life. When my life was nothing more than having you so perfectly in my arms.

Happy birthday, my son.

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Posted by Tere @ 9/11/2008   | |

7 Comments

  • Blogger Balou posted at 9/11/2008 9:39 AM  
    Happy Birthday, Maxi!! Besitos from your tia Lou.

    T - this is such a beautiful post. I could barely read the end because it was hard to see through the tears.
  • Blogger AmandaDufau posted at 9/11/2008 10:31 AM  
    Same here, I'm all teary eyed.

    Happy 3rd birthday, Max!!
  • Anonymous Jenny posted at 9/11/2008 2:03 PM  
    I'm covered in goosebumps.

    That was the best post I have ever read.
  • Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom posted at 9/11/2008 2:23 PM  
    Wow. Happy birthday to Max -- and to you, on becoming a mama.
  • Blogger The Mrs. posted at 9/11/2008 2:37 PM  
    Happy Birthday to your son! What a wonderful post!
  • Blogger SUE posted at 9/23/2008 1:27 PM  
    You're fabulous!

    HAPPY THIRD BDAY MAX!!!
  • Blogger Ady posted at 9/25/2008 11:10 AM  
    Happy Belated Birthday to Max. Hi, Tere, I've just caught up on your post but I wanted to tell you that this is the most amazing post I've read. Your son will cherish it forever... I can totally relate to those feelings having a son myself although my circumstances were a lot different, the feeling is the same. You've inspired me to write my story so that my son will have it in the future. BTW, your time will come when all is well in the universe and you will feel complete. You are a beautiful person and you do deserve it all. Hugz, Ady
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