Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Birthday

Twenty-two years and one day ago today, I gave birth to my first child. A boy child. A beautiful baby boy.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I studied everything I could on childbirth and parenting, wanting to be the best parent I could be.

With all of that knowledge in my brain, the day he was born I should have been frightened. I went into labor four and a half weeks early.

But, nope, I was filled with a calmness that surprises me now. Even after I realized my water had broken, (at first I just thought I wet the bed), and was in labor, I was simply serenely calm. I recall quietly waking my husband, placing a call to the doctor's answering service, another into work to tell them I wouldn't be in that day, and waited out the contractions for a few hours, until the doctor called, thinking perhaps, since my labor was just a tad early, (the only thing he has ever been early for since), maybe I should go ahead and make the trip to the hospital.

I was quite lucky in comparison to many other women, my labor started at approximately 7:00 A.M. and my son was born at 4:20 P.M. . Even being a month early, his Apgar scores were near perfect.

I felt the mother/child bond almost instantly, the connection was almost electric the first time his newborn eyes focused on my own, and locked. Being premature, he experienced a few difficulties. He did not have the nursing reflex down quite yet, and his bilirubin levels were dangerously high, a week of phototherapy took care of that quite nicely, ( in reading what I just was most definitely not a calm week, we were often frightened in the beginning when he did not immediately respond to the therapy), but he was able to go home at eight days old. During that week, I was lucky, the hospital had a wing of empty beds on a surgical wing, and offered me a room when my insurance ran out. Thus I was able to spend the ensuing nights to be available to breastfeed him every 2 hours.

I have so many wonderful memories of this child. As I watched him last night, opening gifts from his sister and I, images of his childhood flashed through my mind. Images filled with laughter, giggles, songs, hikes, his sweet adorable little boy voice, the years and years of questions. Questions about every subject under the sun, the books we read together, the conversations we have shared, serious and silly.

One of his joke gifts was a "Grab Bag for Boys". A silly gift to give to a 22 year old? Maybe, but as I watched him explore it's contents, as I observed the small smiles flicker across his face, and the underlying tone of laughter in his voice, I knew pieces of his childhood were flashing through his mind as well. Memories of a time when the most important things in life were just a handful of toy soldiers and some Lego blocks. I was glad I had given into my silly impulse and purchased the bag. I think he was too.

My relationship with this young man has gone through so many different phases, just as he himself has.

Until the age of five, the main influences in his life were myself and his great-grandmother. Thus his early views of the world were colored by two women who view/viewed the world as an amazing place to experience and explore, and even though it was a very small slice of the world, I attempted to show it all to him. When he was three years old, I remember driving across a bridge that has a clear view of the city we live near, he was finally tall enough to be able to see out the car window while strapped in his booster seat. I remember the sound of awe in his voice as he took in the panoramic view, and said, "This is MY city." My reply of course was, "Yes darling boy, it is."

I cannot even begin to write all of the memories I have of this child of mine. He is a part of my heart, as no other can be. As a young adult, he has disappointed me, he knows this. Yet, I hope with all of my heart he also knows there is so much about him I find admirable, there is much about him that is so very lovable.

I have taken away his family, I have changed his view of what the future holds in that regard. But I hope, oh how I hope he will always know how much I love him. Tears are filling my eyes as I write this. I wish so much for him, so very much. Mostly I wish he will always find small joys in his life, I hope he finds happiness, and feels deserving of that happiness. So many hopes and dreams for this child of mine. His life is his own now, the choices he makes his own. I can only hope I have in some way imparted to him the many possibilities his future holds.

He is planning on leaving again, within the next few weeks. He tried to fulfill a dream two years ago, and didn't make it. He is ready to try again, so he says. I worry, oh I how I worry, but I also know this is something he must do, something he must once more attempt, it is his finding of himself, his way of moving forward to the next stage of his life. In my mind he has not done nearly enough to prepare himself for such an arduous journey, but his youth also plays a part in that. I can only support him, and wish him success. I may be wrong, but I really think he will do it this time.


Deb said...

It doesn't matter if he finishes or not, what matters is that he tried.

Sunny Delight said...

Exactly how I feel, 2 years ago he gave up after 6 hours. Today, he is different, his mindset is different, I am pleased that he is doing it again...that he will be trying. My main worry is that he may expect of himself that he complete it...whereas really giving it his all in the attempt is what really matters.

Fiona said...

Happy birthday to a special young man :)

Re the "Grab Bag for Boys" have you seen "The Dangerous Book for Boys" and "The Daring Book for Girls" - great tomes!

Jac said...

He's lucky to have you as a mom, but, of course, he won't say such a thing for about 25 years!!

Hilary said...

I can relate to much of this. My older boy turned 21 on the 4th and I did a birthday tribute to him as well.

They grow up quickly and most will make mistakes just like their parents before them. As difficult as it is to watch they fly, it's right and it's meant to be. I sure can commiserate.

Happy birthday to your boy and to you. :)

the Bag Lady said...

The Bag Lady is jealous of all these posts congratulating their boys on their birthdays! She has never had a child, and her step-children are all girls!
Happy Birthday to your son - having such a good upbringing will stand him in good stead, even though he may stumble occasionally along the way!

(Sunny Delight - the Bag Lady, for some reason can't access your email account, so if you would please use the email on the Bag Lady's blog to contact her, we can negotiate the release of a few canning recipes!!)

Hilary said...

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Sunny. The photo you mentioned is actually a video. It might just take a while to load, or you can give it another try over at YouTube..

Sunny Delight said...

I will pass along your message, no matter the age, people like whimsical things...such as key chains *VBS*
I haven't seen the books, google time!

Thank you. Know something...he has already told me...maybe I did do some things right!

Thank you, the times does goes fast, I can honestly say I have enjoyed every moment of it, heart breaks as well as heart joys.

I am on dialup thus am unable to watch videos...and at work they have now blocked us from watching videos...sigh. Your mention of videos though...reminds me of the ones I have of my children...I am so glad I took the time each month for so many years to tape them.

I read your post from last write of it beautifully.

bag lady,
I believe boys to be easier than girls, but I'll bet you have had some joyful moments with those step-daughters of yours...I know I greatly enjoy my relationship with Miss Daughter.
I will send you an email hopefully later tonight.