Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Son!

Twenty-two years ago today, I was given the most precious gift: a child. A beautiful son: David John.  He weighed in at a whopping 10lbs, 11oz!  I tend to give a very tall appearance, but I am only 5'5" with narrow hips and small bones. There was no way he was going to arrive in the usual way. He was so darn big.  Larger than life, from the very beginning. That's my boy!

I remember when my OB-GYN told me my child was breech. It was a month before my due date. I was huge--all belly. It looked as if I was about to topple over any moment. It was the end of July and it was so hot. Uncomfortable doesn't even begin to describe it. My back ached, my feet and ankles were always swollen and I wanted this child out of me! The doctor said there was absolutely no room for this kid to turn and come out head first so my plan of natural childbirth was over. All that money for Lamaze classes down the drain.

I had a very difficult delivery despite the fact the doctors on call knew in advance they were doing a C-Section. I opted for an epidural so I could stay awake for the procedure.  In 99% of patients, an epidural will block pain. I was the other 1% . I was cut wide open from side-to-side and felt it all. They didn't realize this (despite my blood-curdling screams) until I passed out from the pain. When they finally put me completely under, they had difficulty getting him out. He was so big. It was a race against time to save both mother and child.

Later that day, when my son was presented to me for inspection, I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn't attempt to have him the other way. He looked like a six month old with rolls upon rolls of fat. I couldn't believe how big he was. Even his feet were huge. When they placed him in my arms and he looked up at me with his little round eyes, all the pain I experienced was forgotten and replaced with love. A love that is impossible to explain or comprehend unless you are a mother.

I always wanted a house-full of children but it was impossible for me to have any more. There was constant tension and instability in my marriage so I closed the door to my dream of adopting more kids. I guess it just wasn't part of God's plan. I am just so thankful I had the opportunity to have one child. There are alot of women out there who don't even get that. Thank you, God.

I wanted to be a mother more than anything else in the world. I prayed for a child for the longest time.  I was married for seven years before I got pregnant. When I met David's father and we started dating, he had two rules: he didn't ever want to get married and he did not want children. Three months later he proposed so I figured if he changed his mind about marriage, he would eventually come around to my way of thinking about children. That didn't happen. My pregnancy was unexpected and a complete shock. I had just made the decision to go back to school to earn my teaching degree when I discovered I was "with child".  My husband had a change of heart when he heard the news and was now very excited about being a father. God had answered my prayers and I felt like Hannah in the bible. I didn't bring my son to the temple and leave him there to do God's work like she did, but in my own way, I committed my baby to God and promised I would raise him with love, tenderness, acceptance and peace. I knew David was a gift I didn't deserve and I was responsible for him.

I didn't know then the path our lives would take. I had no idea my marriage would fall apart and end with a nasty custody battle and divorce. No matter how we try to shield our children, they are always affected. Even when they know we are doing the right thing. Even though he begged me to please leave Daddy, he was secretly asking God to help us work it all out. We didn't work it out. My son's specific prayers were not answered but he was too young to realize how much worse it could have been had his father and I stayed together. I can't help but think David's unanswered prayer is the major reason for the sadness behind his beautiful blue eyes. God didn't hear him. I know that feeling well. But experience has taught me, God always hears and knows best. Eventually, our prayers do get answered. Maybe not exactly how we originally ask, but in wonderful ways we never expect.

I know I've failed more times than I can count, but I have always tried to honor the commitment I made to God concerning my son. It hasn't been easy and now that he's grown, he battles his own demons. Demons he might not have to fight had I done a few things differently. If I had made better choices, perhaps he wouldn't struggle as much now that he is a grown man. I don't regret ending my marriage but there are other decisions I made that were obviously the wrong ones. It's too late to change all that and I know I can't fight his demons for him. If I could, I would. All I can do is fall on my knees daily, asking for divine intervention, protection and guidance for my beloved child.

My son is a good boy- all 6' 4" and 230 lbs of him! He has grown into a wonderful, kind and caring young man. He works harder than any kid I know his age. He doesn't expect anything to be handed to him. He has an amazing work ethic and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. It boggles my mind how smart and capable he is. I can't figure out where on earth he learned to do the things he does. He's tough and he's a survivor. His father comes from good stock, but I know my son gets his drive, independence, and tenacity from my side of the family. He also has his mother's heart- it's way too soft and easily broken. He always believes the best and puts his faith and trust in others a little too often. Because of this, he carries the heavy burden of disappointment. He's just like me in that way and I can share my experiences with him but I can't shelter him from the pain. These are lessons he must learn for himself as he continues to travel the road of life.

If I could impart one thing to my son it would this: he is very, very loved. There is nothing in the world that could ever change the love I have in my heart for him. I am his mother. He is my child. We are held together by a scarlet thread that can never be broken. When he hurts, I hurt. When he laughs, I laugh. When he fails or makes mistakes, I am there to pick him up and let him know I love him for trying. And to push him to keep trying. He has done some really stupid things and made a few foolish choices, but haven't we all? It's just part of life. He needs to find his purpose and place. Not where I think he should be or where his father or his grandparents believe he needs to be. I think the hardest part of being a mother is letting your child find his own path and that awful, sinking feeling when he chooses the wrong one. But I know I raised him right and he has a good head on his shoulders. Eventually, he will get back on track.

My darling son--Happy Birthday. At twenty-two years old, the world is your oyster. You just need to figure out how to pry open the shell without breaking it to retrieve the pearl.  Never give up. Never forget. You are my heart, my pearl, my treasure. You are a gift- not just to me- but to the world.

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

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