Twenty years ago today I gave birth. I know today is his birthday. On my own birthday, I think about how old I am. And my birthday is all about me. And I am sure, to him, today is all about his birthday. But twenty years ago, I gave birth. Of all the things in my life I have accomplished, experienced, studied, learned, mastered and even failed miserably at….being pregnant and giving birth were far, far, far, far above all other things.
I loved being pregnant although I was quite ill during my first pregnancy. It wouldn’t be evident until 37 weeks when I manifested pre-eclampsia, was induced, had a 6 lb 4 oz preemie who was jaundiced and I developed HELPP Syndrome. Then he wouldn’t nurse and I felt so out of control. I was sure I was going to FAIL at this thing. Control is my thing. I like to learn, master and control my environment.
The Lord sends us the exact lessons we need to learn. I have no control over anything. I remember clearly the exact moment I realized I had zero control. I was about 28 weeks pregnant. I was driving one late afternoon from Charleston out to Summerville, the light flickering through the trees alongside the two-lane road. I was completed fixated on a very particular shade of periwinkle blue required for the baby quilt I wanted to make. I was headed to the quilt store…..I was THINKING to my infant inside me. It dawned on me – as if someone smacked me in the back of the head – that my infant could not hear me THINKING. There was another PERSON inside me and he was growing and developing irrespective of me or my will. I was not in control.
I learned that day’s lesson (with many remedial lessons along the last 20 years). My job, nay my vocation, as a mother was to LOVE HIM. Love him and make him feel safe and wanted and anchored. Anchor him until he is ready to venture out….on his own two feet…..sleeping in a big boy bed…..the T-Ball stick……swimming without Floaties….kindergarten……the Internet….driving……graduating high school…….college…..manhood.
He doesn’t need me to anchor yet I am still here…..offering. Dependable. Unconditional. And he is brave and bold and audacious. He has a strong identity. I joke that neither of my kids will join Cults….their identities are too well-formed. He is going to disagree with me. He doesn’t need me much anymore. But my job is to just be available…just in case. And here is the secret….I love watching him move willfully through his world and I want him to be content and confident…..but if he needs me, I am RIGHT THERE. I will dust him off, kiss his boo-boos, pile him on the sofa to watch Disney’s Tarzan, bake him cookies, wash his clothes, clean his bathroom, iron his shirt, listen to him rant, make him Better Than Ramen soup, anything that will patch him up so he can venture out into the world again.
He was my first true love. His birth taught me the ultimate and absolute perfect love. And even when he crushes me, ignores me, disappoints me, dismisses me….grows up and leaves…..I love him more perfectly than I have ever loved or known love. And that is the pure Grace of God. God sent me the exact thing that I needed, that my heart needed…..to love, to know another and to be trusted with that heart and soul. I was given the gift of sheltering him before he went out into the world and judging by how well he is doing……I humbly give thanks for being guided through he last twenty years. He is a good man.