children

A Heartfelt Thank You

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Have you ever felt like just sitting down to thank somebody?

I mean sure – I thanked the bagging guy today at the grocery store for dealing with me while I slipped over patches of ice to lock my son’s car seat in while he held two carts of frozen junk food with a short sleeve shirt on…

That’s not what I mean.

Saying thank you to my husband, or my children, or my family really is not appropriate – they understand that what they do for me, nobody else can do. There’s a love and inspiration there that cannot be described, understood, or for that matter, appreciated in the form of verbal words on a blog.

Allow me to take time out to give my heartfelt, genuine, thank you – to a specific person that I feel deserves credit where credit is due.

(Fun Fact #2,164 about Jenn: I invest in the concept of the paranormal. I believe in ghosts, spirits, the after life. I’ve read books, taken classes, done investigations, dealt with my own hauntings, own my own equipment…)

Sidebar: Skeptics laughing, feel free to continue to. Or you can simply press skip in your reader, either way, blah.

For all of those who are believers (AWESOME SAUCE) – you get me, I know. But becoming a parent also brought another level of belief into this spiritual resolution, afterlife, concept of apparitions, EVPs … (I could go on – if you do not understand my terminology I apologize. I know, I know. It’s like reading “stereo instructions”.)

When I became a parent – I looked into the eyes of these little beings and realized I had just given life.

When you give life – you automatically become the person or force that has subjected that little soul someday – to death.

Now, now. I am not being morbid. Think about it. I have 3 amazing, wonderful children. Each of them when they were born immediately had my heart and every bit of love I could have ever dreamed of mustering for a human being – wrapped into each of their sweet, tiny, quivering lips. They reach for me – a simple “mama…” “I want a juice box…” “I love you…” or in the case of my 1 year old … a bellowing “WAHHHHHHHHH” when the bottle falls with such force under the bouncy chair that milk goes splattering into his deep blue eyes.

These cherished moments in the mind of any parent are ones you cannot describe to those who do not have children.

“You had to be there” really fits in here.

But I realized once they took their first breaths – that someday, they will take their last.

Knowing that I accomplished such a huge step as a human – I mean, I MADE HUMANS – in the bottom of the deep depths of my often overthinking heart – I remember – someday, they will no longer be alive. That the life I provided to them – will no longer exist.

Unless -if you’re a believer like me – you choose to believe that it will continue to exist past the ability of their living bodies.

I choose to support this notion.

This belief comforts me. It brings me hope. It makes the joy on their little faces when I say “yes, you can have chocolate” feel much more like a happy moment instead of “someday – I may never see them again.”

Yes, I will.

This brings me to my point. There’s a group of people who dedicate their lives to investigating, , and I guess I could use the word PROVING – that this concept actually exists. Okay I take that back – there’s MANY groups. However, one in particular has a way of taking evidence, proof, undeniable, concrete “You just CANNOT SAY IT ISN’T REAL” type of study and brings it to the forefront of public attention. This group spends many hours, upon hours, upon hours – doing what some think is simply for entertainment – but I take it as a sincere path they are meant to be on that they intend to share with all of us. It just happens to be on television where we can see it.

Thank you – from the bottom of my heart-  to Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin (as well as the others involved with Ghost Adventures). If you have not watched their original documentary – well, then you are probably a boring person.

(I’M KIDDING! Stop glaring! Get Netflix and watch!)

If you happen to tune in like me to the Travel Channel every Saturday for new lockdowns, well then hey – let’s wave our lassos together – yee haw for meeting other fans of the show.

This thank you, however, is deeper. I’ve always wanted to believe that the after life existed. Since I was a child and have had my own dealings with the paranormal, supernatural, whatever term you wish to use – I have wanted to be more involved in understanding its realm of possibilities. But now – my own children in my arms – I cannot bear the thought that the moment any of us take our last breaths as a living human – that we simply see black. That we will never see each other again.

It is this crew that has put so much heart, soul, time, and persistence into proving the existence of life after death – that has helped me cope as a parent with the idea of someday ever losing my babies that I gave life to – because the evidence they have provided is clear – some of it, to me, indisputable – that we will continue to move on in spirit past our human shells of skin and bone.

To the GAC: you have put so much effort into this. You have put your health at risk. You have taken time, energy, faith, passion – and used it as a device in bringing forth how the paranormal really does co-exist in the human world, and how there is life beyond what we know here and now. Thank you. In tears I say this – because it is with this belief that I can put my little ones to bed at night and know, no matter what, no matter who goes, and when – that I am not responsible for providing life merely to someday, provide death.

I am responsible for providing life – to someday provide a road to another one, where we will come together again, and never be apart.

Quite a feat, GAC. I felt it was worthy of saying thank you.

Although I feel I could say a million more things in adoration instead – I will leave it at that.

From this mother’s loving heart: really. Thank you.

You are appreciated. I hope someday you read from my own words how you have touched my life – and that you will continue to touch that of others that you continue to stun and awe with the beauty of the evidence you present.

I was already a believer.

You just made me more of one.

Much love.

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My Jonah’s Journey: A True Overcoming

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Meet Jonah. He appears to be your average, sweet, curious, hungry, loves to poop his diaper 11 month old, right?

Would you believe that, on the day he was born, March 12, 2013 – this was Jonah:

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Jonah Anthony is my son. This sweet, precious boy came into the lives of my husband and I by surprise.

I thought I had the flu. I struggled for days wondering why I kept getting sick – and then there’s this little clock inside your mind that only women understand that goes “ding” – and the light bulb brightens. You take that walk through the drug store aisles almost hiding your face thinking so many different racing thoughts. You see, I already had two children. I was divorced then re-married. My husband already has 3 children. We weren’t planning it – but after that little walk through the CVS I came home and I waited. Then it happened.

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So of course. It began over again – pregnancy ,the cravings, the weight gain, the constant need to barf while sitting at my work desk because somebody decided to microwave fish for lunch (I curse you! I curse you!)

We finally saw his little heartbeat. My belly grew. We found out he was a boy. We named him almost right away. We saw him in 3-D.  We waited for our due date: April 5, 2013.

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Out of the blue after months of anticipation – growing into the idea of being a mommy again, feeling his kicks, wondering about him – what would he be like, falling in love with the way he would roll around and cause me heartburn – wake me up at midnight before he was even born – something we did not see coming – happened.

On March 12, 2013 I went into labor on my own after long day at work. When I went to the hospital I felt for sure they would send me home. Within an hour – I was told it was time to go. Heading for C-section. It was his time, 4 weeks early.

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Jonah was born on March 12, 2013 at 8:15 PM. He weighed 7 LBS even. I heard his first cry and I began to sob. I could see his red hair from the operating table. His sweet, tiny legs were kicking…

Then I noticed something different than what happened with my other two.

Jonah stopped crying.

I immediately knew something was wrong – I got to see him for about 5 seconds. I gave him a kiss. I cried at how beautiful he was – he looked just like his father but with my mouth. It was happiness – yet anxiety. I waited for word while in recovery.

My husband came in about 2 hours later. Jonah was not breathing well. He had been taken to the NICU. He had Respiratory Distress Syndrome due to being premature. His lungs were not ready to be born yet.

It was not until the next day at noon that I was allowed to see Jonah. I was taken by wheel chair to the NICU where I went to be by his side. I only had one picture of him since he had been born – this one:

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I immediately broke into tears when I got to his side. The picture I had seen was not what I saw when I first came into real contact with my son. This is what I saw:

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My beautiful boy – the one that had been kicking me, that I had wanted so bad to meet, that innocent little being – was covered in tubes, wires, monitors that kept blaring. I sat by his side and I sobbed like I have never sobbed before. The nurse came up to my husband and said “that is a normal reaction from mothers”…

What mother would not sob at the sight of her son in a tiny box – his eyes barely open, his skin pale, his hands penetrated with IV needles.

I started to wonder if it was something that I did wrong. Why did I go into labor so early? Was it because of the pneumonia and flu I had two months prior? Was it the medication I had taken? Was I not healthy enough to hold him inside?

Now this wonderful creation of ours – was suffering. I was not allowed to hold him immediately. I was, however, allowed to stick my hand inside his incubator and touch him. His skin felt so soft to mine. My heart was alive with love – yet petrified. A terror I cannot describe.

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Jonah had to undergo a procedure where a breathing tube was inserted and lung suffactant was entered into his lungs artificially to help him learn to breathe on his own. It was 4 AM – on March 14, 2013. We waited and waited – my husband sleeping on the couch, my mother sleeping on a cot at my feet. The doctor finally knocked on the door – Jonah was doing well. He had taken great to the procedure and was learning to breathe. I could finally hold him.

Our first moments were full of blaring monitors and difficult wires – meandering around his heart leeds in order to get him to my chest. Yet it was beautiful. He raised his head. He recognized my voice. I immediately began to cry.

I was to be released a few days later. We were informed Jonah would not come home with us. He was losing weight, he was still unable to breathe room air without the help of Oxygen. He also became jaundiced.

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Days passed. We would often come by the NICU in the middle of the night. We simply could not sleep wondering about our little boy. If we happened to time it right – we were able to stick our hands in and actually feed him ourselves.

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Slowly, at least it felt to us, better updates were coming in. At first his blood oxygen level was only 40%. He was coming into the 70’s. His oxygen eventually made it into the 90’s. Whenever it would lower, the monitors would go off, and naturally, we would jump and wonder why. Each day meant, if progress was made, another wire would come off. I remember that I could start to see his actual features – he had been so covered, I could not see his mouth, nose, or cheeks.

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Then there was the beautiful moment his father held him for the first time. I cried watching. He cried and smiled and laughed.

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I left the hospital on March 16, 2013. I left on the elevator with no baby carrier – just my luggage, my husband, and a heart drowning in pain and an ill feeling in my stomach. I was leaving him behind. How could I? There was no space at the hospital for me to stay – so we would journey up each day to see him and be with him for hours upon hours until we knew our little boy could come home. I could not wait to introduce him to his siblings.

My hands were cracked and bleeding from washing with hospital grade soap each time I even wanted to merely brush my skin with his.

Then on March 20, 2013, we walked into the NICU and found this:

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He was breathing on his own. He was free of monitors, tubes, leeds. His sweet face was so clear to us now. We could hold him at will, take his temperature, change his diaper, feed him, rock him, sing sweet nothings to him.

Lullaby…and goodnight…go to sleep little Jonah …

Our little trooper never gave up. From the moment he cried when he came out of me – to the moment he stopped crying because he could not breathe – through each moment we reached through a tiny hole just to touch our baby – grasping at a tiny bottle hoping he would eat even 10 little mls – this little boy fought to survive.

Jonah came home with us on March 21, 2013 – 9 days after he was born. In thinking of what we had been through – which we never expected – we were so blessed. Some wait months, some do not come home at all. We prayed and prayed. We said so many thank you’s, took so many crying breaths just wanting our son home in our arms.

And he came.

The Lord blessed us with this sweet surprise. From that moment that I saw the two pink lines (so not the flu)  to today – Jonah is such an inspiration. Our sweet, beautiful boy is thriving. He is high functioning – and registers on a full term scale – not a premature scale of development. He is trying to take steps. He says Mama with his face bright as he reaches for me in the mornings.

He plays peek a boo with dada.

These are the moments that for days we thought – we may never see. Somehow through it all, God blessed our lives with this sweet boy that was able to fight almost the impossible – when he had just been born. Our hearts hurt for other families that never get to take their babies home. After going through this and seeing my boy through glass and wires – I pray nightly for others in the same position. We are so thankful to the amazing doctors whose knowledge, compassion, and care brought our son back to mommy and daddy’s arms.

In just 9 short days, Jonah will be 1. We are celebrating with a whale themed party for Jonah and the Whale. We joked I looked like one when I was pregnant with him. He will have cake. He will have love. He will be hugged, and kissed, and cherished. For this is the boy that came into the world and fought to live. This is the boy that to this day – inspires me to be a better person, mother, friend. This is the boy that has taught me to cherish ALL of life’s moments – big and small.

This is our Jonah. Our miracle. Our overcomer.

Happy Birthday, Baby. We love you.

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The new trend: Complaining about Complaining

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A note to readers:  I have been out sick for a while and am finally getting better, enough at least to be able to post again and update my blog. Not only did I get strep throat, I came down with a terribly painful case of Colitis.

Wait. Maybe I should not have revealed that last detail: Colitis. It seems that each and every time somebody complains about something, reaches out for support, says something happy on social media: all Hell seems to break loose.

Allow me to explain. I’ve noticed while being sick in bed for the past two weeks and observing the news, blogs, articles that there appears to be a trend in social networking and blogging as well as article writing – to target a specific brand of people.

Exhibit A: a recent article from Cosmopolitan about what engaged people do on Facebook that is annoying.

Exhibit B: A recently pressed article about the 8 reasons someone won’t be friends on Facebook with you in 2014 (see #6)

Exhibit C: An article written with regards to looking down on mothers who have husbands and children.

Allow me to retort. I wonder where all the negativity comes from that drives people to write such judgmental posts. I believe it is quite apparent that I am brutally honest. I have no filter. When I feel like talking – I talk. I do not care about the subject, and I certainly do not sift through my words to make sure they do not sound negative. I keep it real.

People constantly complain about complaining are beginning to become the bane of my social media existence. Granted, I am now issuing a complaint myself.  It is officially defined as “Facebitching”:

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Sometimes there are posts that are happy. My feed is full of Facebook announcements of engagement, new babies, wedding dates. I see continuous love for a spouse to another simply posting “I love you” on their partners page. I find these things beautiful and fun to watch. I post my own. It is no secret that my battle with addiction was fought publicly on Facebook. There is not a day goes by where I say something negative because I have the freedom to do so – and because I find so much support in others who suffer the same things and offer their shoulder and ears to me for venting.

These are the people I appreciate. It has become apparent recently that the concept of social media is continuously on a down spiral over those who feel compelled to say “stop posting happy things” “do not make up your own hashtags” “you’re a stay at home mother and you have kids, your life must not be fulfilling…”

I’m joining the group now of people who complain about complaining on social media – but my complaint is for the people taking other people’s exciting moments, difficult times, jobs, choices they’ve made and making rude, bitter, snide judgements just because you do not fit the same mold. You could be single, you may have chosen to not have children, you may have a job and it annoys the bejesus out of you because some mothers do not have jobs and choose to stay home with their kids.

Sidebar: parenting is a job.

Have you ever stopped for a second and just simply given somebody a congratulations? If you can’t bring yourself to do it and it drives you insane when people post on Facebook (for that matter, I could say I just had the best chocolate ice cream – all of a sudden it’s people complaining about the so called Food Porn posts) – try the hide button. On Twitter, there is an unfollow button.

I am a very open minded person. I read others posts and ideas. I read through the complaints about happy people being the disgrace of social media – then their posts and articles change to – oh there’s a negative post -let me proceed to complain about the details they give of their life. A person decides to post on their social media account that they’re sad, please pray. Yet no details are explained. These are the ones where I reach out and say I hope you feel better, or I’m thinking of you. I do not persist to ask the reasons because maybe they are choosing to say it’s not really other’s business.

Unfortunately there’s a stigma on social media where you pretty much cannot do anything right. A person posts they’re happy: someone gets pissed off “shut up, we don’t need you to post to your spouse that you love them on Facebook, go tell them in person.” (I’m rolling my eyes) – or then theres complaints of those who say they’re sad and do not give details. When they finally do give details, people are annoyed that the details were too much information “please do not post every detail of your sickness, no one needs to read that.”

WHY are you on social networking then? I’m still lost trying to figure out where the disconnect is between those who are on the internet for freedom of expression and those who are on social networking to stalk others posts and find a reason to complain about it (usually their posts consist of “i have to work today and it’s snowing”. ) Okay – I find your posts boring, so? I prefer to read when people reach out, talk about their happiness, post photos of pregnant bellies and their children playing in the snow. A few posts down there’s always someone lashing out at somebody else for being so open “geez get a room you make me want to vomit from all of your happiness” “I’m tired of people complaining that their kids are sick, so what, there’s worse problems in the world”.

Of course there are. However, there’s where I fall in: I decided to become the type that is transparent and I am now reaching out to those who complain about EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of complaining. For all of the articles on social media that post the rules, or what not to do’s, here’s MY list of rules. I hate making rules. Here’s a few insights from a transparent poster who does give details (and by the way I’m a stay at home mother).

1. Stop complaining about complaining about complaining. If you do not enjoy social networking and seeing a diversity of personalities who express themselves differently – then stop reading. Press hide.

2. Stop complaining about Bit Strip comics in your Facebook feeds. Do not like them? Turn off the funny creativity then.

3. Stop making engaged, married, or pregnant people seem like the enemy because they are hitting life milestones they are excited about and they want to share it with others. Show some compassion – I mean really complaining about that shows jealousy and bitterness on your part, at least in my opinion.

4. Stop insulting mothers who are on Facebook complaining about their child peeing the bed, or projectile vomiting at the local restaurant. I find the people who hate these posts are not parents so they clearly have no idea what that is like. Stop judging.

5. Stop making rules on Facebook and Twitter. I can use hashtags if I want, talk about what I want, and give the details that I want. It’s social media –  it’s a way of connecting with people.

6. Accept a diversity of personalities that exist beyond yours. Please do not post on how people should act on social media – stop stalking posts and go do something more productive.

7. STOP MAKING RULES. I myself am making rules – but these are MY rules that I hope EVERYONE would at least TRY to understand – but to be honest, there really isn’t a written rule that says somebody cannot express happiness, show a picture of an engagement ring, talk about their day with the kids and the million diapers changed or how the child accidentally pooped in the ball pit at Chick Fil A.

If you cannot take heat – get out of the kitchen. Get off your computer and find another life skill more fulfilling than bashing those who use social media as a way of documenting their lives and finding peace in the support they receive from others. Allow social networking to be just that- social networking.

I am in no way judging you. I am merely ANNOYED with you – just like you’ve complained pretty much every two seconds about being ANNOYED with me for SIMPLY BEING ME!

Always be yourself. Follow your own guidelines. Do not filter because you are afraid of the naysayers who have decided to take it upon themselves to insult every single solitary detail of any given post. If it can’t be happy, or sad, if it can’t be about a medical problem, or a picture of food, or a dirty baby eating his first solid foods meal: then what is it?

Boring and a total defeat of the purpose of self expression. I’m sure you claim your posts are about self expression that you cannot stand people complaining – but you yourself are complaining.

So I admit it – I’m complaining about complaining but I’m also taking a stand for people who choose to be transparent and honest with others. I applaud that. While I applaud the efforts of the complainers to at least put time and effort into their thoughts of why they hate hashtags, engagements, childbirth, marriage, posts about sickness: I feel you could at least give it a rest and find the positive in people who are not afraid to share their live stories to connect with others. Maybe their life story isn’t yours but instead of concentrating on telling them how annoying they are – remember, you are annoying too.

Because you can’t just simply sit back, watch, and possibly learn from the diversity of personalities that exist in social media.

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Caution: Guilty Sick Mommy Blogger Ahead!

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I need to start resizing my photos. The above says “I don’t get sick days, I’m a mom!”…

Ah, , the life of a mommy. I posted earlier that I was sick and therefore having a hard time catching up on comments and nominations.

I managed to brave the ice and cold and get to urgent care.

This mommy blogger is down with Strep Throat and a bad case of a sinus infection. There’s fluid build up in both ears that’s causing me a lot of pain – along with the sore throat.

Or shall I quote the urgent care doctor “THE ANNNGGRYYYY THROAT” 

I have been missing out on daily prompts and zero to hero the past few days – I feel so guilty! No, really, I do! I have so many different ideas I could do for this. I plan on playing catch up later. This blog has in fact become such a catharsis for me – I love doing it, I also adore the new faces that come in for a glance and maybe carry some inspiration with them – the new people I’ve met, and swapped stories with. This is fantastic!

Of course, along with that, comes the guilt that I cannot be as active the next few days. Truthfully antibiotics mixed with prescription strength Mucinex is really not my stomach’s friend – so we will have to add that lovely combination into my already horrendous illness.

I wanted to point out, however, that even as a mommy – I do get sick days. My husband is amazing. He has taken over baby duty so I can rest, and I love this man so much. He is my heart and soul and everything in it – what I’ve always dreamed of. Please look for more blogs soon with regards to how he has improved my life with Panic Disorder and Depression. He has also been a huge force in my Social Anxiety. I was Agorophobic before – I am getting so much better with this because of his support an the personal fervor I have to try harder each day to find coping strategies.

While blogging is amazing – I simply cannot keep up being this sick. I wanted to point out the nature of the illness so everyone knows I am going through my Reader, I’m seeing all of your beautiful posts and poetry, and I wish I could press more likes and make more comments – I appreciate you all so much.

I will BE BACK – my musings, rantings, updates, funny quotes, sarcastic humor, and new mechanisms for living in mental and physical pain – will all be back. I just need to break this fever and get back on my feet first. You all are lovely – and I have learned so much already in the just over 2 weeks I’ve been blogging in here. What an amazing world it is – but unfortunately, even bloggers need sick days 🙂

By the way, I’m contagious – if you read this post – wash your hands!

XOXO

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.