Saturday, December 28, 2013
Hey Jude... The Newborn Edition
You are officially ten days old today. I am holding you far more than I ever thought I would, running the supposed risk of spoiling you. But I don't care. You will never be ten days old again, and so my goal is to get as much of ten-day-old you as I possibly can. And you don't mind. You like being held and fed and read to. And so I will do those things today.
I have taken a thousand pictures in the last ten days. You are very photogenic. You smile and scrunch up your face and yawn at just the right times, and I snap twenty pictures in a 30 second period, certain that one of them will be perfectly adorable. And I am usually right. Those pictures get posted on Facebook and Instagram so that people can appreciate your cuteness the way I do. (Looks aren't everything, buddy, but you are very, very cute) But I have to tell you that one of my favorite pictures from the night you were born isn't a picture of you at all. It's a picture of me. And while that sounds a little prideful, let me assure you that it isn't a cute picture of me. In fact, it's not very attractive at all. Before this picture was taken, I had experienced a little bit of trauma. I had endured an epidural, a significant and scary blood pressure drop (risking my health and yours), a lot of nausea and throwing up, and had several anxiety attacks. Plans changed. I ended up in the operating room instead of the delivery room. I was afraid. I begged for your dad to come pray with me. I tried to breathe through the fear. As they began the process of bringing you into the world, I was a mess. And then, I heard you.
You screamed before they ever fully removed you from my belly. You were incredibly loud. Great lungs, sweet boy, which is good news for your music loving parents. We have high hopes for you. And from the moment I heard you crying, my fear and sickness took a backseat to sheer and complete relief. You were alive and breathing and you were here. Finally.
This picture of me is not just about that night. It's about the 36 years that came before it. It's about me at the age of five getting my first Cabbage Patch Kid from Pauline Turner, the mother of my first grade boyfriend. The doll's name was Gizela Xena and she had red hair in pigtails and green eyes, just like me. And I loved her. Caring for her became my job. Motherhood was important, and I took my responsibilities seriously. Over the years, I collected four more Cabbage Patch Kids, and I remember each of their names with the exception of the newborn doll I received for Christmas in 1987. (Don't worry, I won't forget your name.) But even in those years, I dreamed of you. Of my own baby that I would get to hold and feed and change. I could entertain myself for hours with the practices of motherhood.
This picture is about your Uncle Adam being born. I was almost 12, and I mothered him as much as I could get away with. I put him to bed each night, singing him to sleep in Spanish and German. I made him alphabet flashcards when he was a toddler, certain that he would end up a genius as a result. In high school, I babysat many Friday nights so that Nana and Papa could go to the antique auction. We always had fun things planned on those nights, usually a trip to Peter Piper Pizza (because who doesn't like pizza and games? Oh, and exchanging tickets for prizes.)
This picture is about my growing up and the dream of you becoming more real. As I got closer to being an adult, I babysat other people's kids. I changed diapers and I learned about putting babies on schedules. I mixed rice cereal and warmed up bottles. I loved other people's kids as I waited to be ready for my own. And even though you were a long way off, I still thought about the day you would be born.
This picture is about when I married your dad, and I was ready for you. He wanted to wait just a little while. And so I cried a little, and I begged a little. And I told him about how old I was, and how I felt like I didn't have much time. Your dad is a nice, sympathetic guy, and so before long, we made a plan. And the plan didn't go how we thought it might. It took some time and some hard things. But eventually, we found out you were coming. And I was scared. I was fearful something would go wrong. And at every doctor's appointment we received the good news that you were just fine. I would hear your little heartbeat, and I would cry. I would watch you growing like you should, and I would breathe a sigh of relief. And everyday, I would try to remember to be thankful for that particular day with you, knowing very well that our days are not guaranteed and not wanting to take one moment for granted.
This picture is about the last weeks of my pregnancy when I couldn't sleep or walk or sit without discomfort. It's about backaches and heartburn and being so anxious to see you. It's about the tears and the prayers prayed on your behalf. Because even though were you were mine long before I saw your wrinkly face and heard you cry, in this moment, you felt like mine. I felt like your mom. In this moment, God honored the hope that He put in my heart decades ago. In this moment, years of faith became sight. I am so thankful. I am crying here, sweet boy, but I assure you that there is nothing but happiness behind those tears. Happiness and perfect contentment. I am so glad you are finally here. I have been waiting.