Saturday, January 21, 2006

Two Fifteenth Birthdays

Today is the fifteenth birthday of Eldest Bantam--making me fifteen years a parent. That's over one-third of my life, I just realized--yet it has flown by. Funny how the earliest years of my life seemed to last an eternity from birthday to birthday, and now they seem like dominos falling, unstoppable, except by the hand of God.

I remember so distinctly the moment, fifteen years ago today, when I became a parent. I really hadn't had much preparation for it. I could barely remember when my youngest brother was born, I had very little babysitting experience, and my husband and I didn't know anyone else having babies when I got pregnant. I hadn't even really read any books, besides What To Expect When You're Expecting--and there's not much baby information in that. It was really naive of me, but I think I just figured that God had given us this baby and with His help, we'd figure out what to do with it when it came.

So--the moment I became a parent. It was not the moment I first laid eyes on him, or when they finally let me hold my son for the first time--I was too out of it, from the drugs I hadn't known to refuse. It was not an hour or so later, when we first figured out together what these amazing mammary glands are good for. No, it was later that evening, alone in my hospital room, after my husband had gone home for the night. The baby was in the nursery and I was getting some much-needed sleep when a nurse wheeled his bassinet into my room, announced "He's hungry," and left! I remember pausing, wondering if someone was going to tell me what to do; then, I remember so clearly these words flashing across my mind: "Well, I guess if I don't pick this baby up, no one else is going to."And that's the moment I became a parent.

I looked at that squirming little bundle and realized "He's mine." In the silence of that flourescently-lit hospital room, the miracle of it came home to me, and I lifted him up and drank in every detail of his beautiful, alien little face. I nursed him, and I remember tears of disbelieving wonder rolling down my cheeks. I unwrapped him to change his diaper and I remember examining and marvelling at every square inch of him. I held him and stared at him and tried to grasp how my life had been transformed in a matter of hours. It was as if a huge, invisible garage door had just been rolled up to reveal vistas near and far that I had never even imagined.

I had had no idea.

Well, God was good, and we did figure out what to do with him. My mother helped and later I got a few books to read. We thought he was a good baby, though now I know he wasn't what most would call an easy baby.

With learning and social challenges, he's still not what most would call "easy" (is there an easy child, really?), but we wholeheartedly embrace him as good. His quirky sense of humor, his knack for advanced vocabulary, his visual and artistic strenths, his affection and patience with his youngest siblings, his perseverance at tasks, his creativity and imagination are all blessings from above and a joy to our family.

So happy birthday to us both, Son. What a joy it has been!

1 comment:

elaine@bloginmyeye said...

Awww. So sweet. I definitely had a steep learning curve as well.