babies

One Step: A Photo That Says It All

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Parenting is quite the ride. There are up’s, down’s, pukes, poops, sobs, and I will be the honest parent here: moments of pure misery.

(Really? 6 AM? I’m not interested in Legos. I’m interested in sleep – I just have to be honest, kids).

Yesterday we celebrated the first birthday of my youngest, and last, son – Jonah. His story of how we almost lost him at birth was posted last week. I have a hysterectomy scheduled on April 3, 2014: he’s it. My last and final. I remember when my first son was born – I photographed, videoed every single moment. It was like – OH MY GOSH A POOP IN THE POTTY GRAB THE SONY!

But when you really come to the final realization – this is it – there are little moments we cherish, there are big ones, there are the ones in between where one of them decided to puke on my new pair of pants.

(My fault, I gave you 6 Oreos)

We decided on a whale theme – nautical. You know, the fun favors – sunglasses, curvy straws, kazoos, stickers – fun stuff any kid (and adult, I admit I was digging in) – we had it all going. We catered it from a special restaurant. We set it up to be all “yay he’s 1” (Okay really, the store didn’t have the whale theme I wanted in birthday – they only had it in baby shower but I was Hell bent on it, so … I bought baby shower decorations. Everything said “baby boy” … still technically true, right?)

Maybe not. It’s been through this past year, and juggling three kids, watch them each hit their milestones, that I’ve wondered why am I trying to rush them to grow up? Because I want to sleep, or a stiff drink while they’re awake, or to watch what I want, and not cartoons?

Yesterday I decorated as normal – a normal party. Cake. Food. Fun.

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I wanted to enjoy this – these moments. Despite the cake going everywhere, a few signs of a slight belly ache, and a hell of a mess afterwards, there were smiles, laughs, and love.

But the biggest moment of all – hit me out of the blue. We were opening gifts. One from my Aunt, a framed poem she wrote for him. I could not read it out loud, I began to cry. Someone else took over.

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Yet through the tissue paper, new toys, new batteries – something else occurred when we least expected it. Jonah, with no even hint of having the ability, took a look at me with curious eyes, smiled, pulled himself up, and stood unassisted for the first time.

My last baby – my special miracle – he was looking at me. My hands on my mouth – my husband’s hands over his. The crowd in the background like the last shot of a basketball game “GO JONAH GO! GO JONAH GO!” (I wish we had pom poms and a tuba)…

For the record, he stood for 15 seconds and stared. He smiled at the waves of encouragement, he giggled. And in his very predictable, yet cute fashion, fell right onto his behind. In mommy language “Go boom!”

Despite that the first step was not taken – that milestone meant the world to me. I don’t want to rush it, but the beauty in it was so compelling. And the best part – my uncle was taking pictures. He caught the exact moment my son stood for the first time – and my husband and I watching in awe as our once, fighting for his life little baby boy, stared for those 15 seconds like a drunk little man.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. I cannot describe what it means to look at this picture – there’s memories, there’s that feeling in my heart that my little boy really is growing, my real last baby – is soon to be taking on the world.

Here we have a cherished memory. One I will never forget – and am so thankful – someone had their hands on the “push to take” button – while my husband and I covered our mouths and held back tears. We will never forget this – and I’m sure we will use it at a slideshow for Jonah’s graduation someday, or his wedding. But let’s not think about that. I will start to cry again.

He’s still my baby boy to me – who am I kidding? He always will be.

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Cherishing Encounters

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The above pictured is my oldest son. His name is Ayden and he is 6 years old. He was born in October of 2007 – and in my first encounter with him – I was not awake.

I am one of the 2% of the population that fails when it comes to enduring an epidural. My body did not take the medication. When my induction did not go as planned and we headed for an emergency c-section, all I remember was I felt being sliced open and began screaming. I was screaming for help – yelling to stop.

I was immediately put to sleep.

I woke up two hours later to see my first born son by my side. I had missed his first breaths, his first cries. I had always dreamed of seeing and feeling a baby born – and I missed my very first experience.

Today Ayden is an active and passionate child. After myself and his father divorced – Ayden began living full-time with his daddy and not me. As heartbroken as I was – it’s the way things were at the time, and still are, 3 and a half years later after the separation.

I now have 3 children total. Ayden, his sister Mina who is 4, and my son by my now husband – Jonah is 10 months old. Ayden and Mina come for visits every other weekend for two days. I cherish these moments with their precious hearts – the way they reach for me.

My first encounter with a person this morning was, in fact, with my son, Ayden. He has always loved to sleep near me since he was 7 months old. The past years without being able to do so on a daily basis has been difficult for him. This morning I found myself at the foot of my Queen bed – Ayden’s feet in my face while I was in a fetal position trying to remain comfortable. Both him and his sister had wet the bed.

In an attempt to clean this while sleepwalking I apparently changed both of them, but left a towel underneath instead of changing the sheets. I giggle snorted a bit waking up with his feet in my face, while my legs were hovered over the side of the bed – feet curled in a painful position. My back was cracking, aching – my neck was stiff, and my head felt like I had taken a few blows from Mike Tyson.

Yet as I awoke and turned to move his feet – his little face was staring back at me.

“May I have Fruity Pebbles?” he asked.

“What time is it?” I grumbled.

He picked up my phone, turned it on, and in his smart – 1st grade voice – retorted “it’s 7:30. I’m hungry. You’re sleeping late.”

I remember laughing that deep, low sneer of mine that I often do when I’m being sarcastic. Yes, I wanted to sleep late, as a parent – he’s right, the kid is a smart dude, 7:30 is late.

“Sure, sweetheart. You may have some Fruity Pebbles.”

He smiled. He grabbed his sister in excitement and told her he would be back with their favorite breakfast and they would then choose a movie to snuggle up with mommy and watch.

It’s those moments I cherish, I thought. Despite being tired, having missed a dose of my medication, hardly slept at all without being overwhelmed with the scent of urine and dirty socks …

I woke up to my baby – the baby boy that I never heard his first cries, or saw his first breath – and I was never the first person to hold him.

But I will always be his mommy – and when he came back up with his Fruity Pebbles, he grabbed me and hugged me.

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, buddy.”

He knew that the moment he popped out – even if it wasn’t my words that he heard first. Mine will always mean the most – even if it’s simply a “yes, sweetheart” – when asking for his favorite cereal. These are cherished encounters.