My precious baby boy is nine. Nine. How have nine years passed by already? I completely sound like every other mother, and now I know why . . . God knits our hearts to our children in such an amazing way, but it doesn't only bond us to our children, it bonds us with other mothers. And it's a good thing, too, because when our little birds fly away we will need one another to cling to as we watch the babies soar. There's one line of one song that so describes how I feel . . . "I'll have tears as you take off, but I'll cheer as you fly". The entire song is my absolute heart's cry as a mother (Find your Wings by Mark Harris).
Some days feel so long, but as I reflect today on nine years of my son's life, it's just so fast. It's just not that much time that I really get to devote myself to growing this child into a young man who will love the Lord above anything and anyone else. It's just . . . so . . . fast.
I think of my Mom - every year she says, "this time nine years ago . . . " or "this time seventeen years ago . . . " or now, "this time thirty-two years ago . . . " I look forward to hearing the story every year. I love knowing that the day I was born was special to my Mom, so special that it's forever imprinted on her heart. Of course it is! So, I do the same thing. I tell each of my kids their birth story each year. And just in case Malachi ever forgets, here's his:
I was due March 23, but that date passed right by and still no baby. I took off work right before my due date, assuming the baby would come any time. He didn't! I puttered around the house cleaning, straightening things, looking at the baby items we'd carefully collected, reading child care books. I washed the clothes and hung them neatly in the closet, stacked up all the changing pads and arranged the diapers just so. I washed the bassinet (pack n play) sheet and set it up where I wanted it. One day CC came in and jumped into the pack n play and I screamed so loudly at her, she never went near it again. LOL When a week had gone by and no baby, I washed the sheet again so it would be nice and fresh for Baby. I think I did that at least 2 or 3 times.
I saw the doctor when I was 40 weeks and she said it was time to schedule my induction! I hated the idea so much, but it's what she said to do, so I did it. She told me to call on the evening of March 31st and see if the Birth Center had room for me. I thought, I'm not calling them and having my baby on April 1st! When I called, they said I could come if I wanted to. I didn't want to, and so I didn't. I called on April 1 and they had plenty of room for me. We went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant in town and I was so nervous I hardly ate. I saw an old co-worker/friend and she was so excited for me!
We arrived at the Birth Center and checked in, but they didn't have a room ready yet so we sat in the waiting area for a long time. I was so nervous that every minute felt so awful. I felt a *little* bit better when we got a room. I did not really like the doctor who came in. It was late at night, after 10, and he didn't explain much at all. He just said he was going to put some gel on my cervix that would help it to get ready, and he said nothing would happen until morning. He said they would come in the next morning and put a second dose, and that if nothing happened still then they would start Pitocin later on. All of that basically sounded pretty awful to me.
We tried to get some rest, and I'm sure Alif did but I certainly did not. I was having some contractions, but nothing serious or painful. After a few hours, though, they did start to get rather uncomfortable. I called the nurse in and she gave me a sleeping pill and told me to get some rest. I took the sleeping pill but definitely did not sleep. The contractions got stronger and stronger, and I started to really get concerned. The breathing methods we had learned in Lamaze did nothing but get me riled up. I couldn't relax and I was scared. As the hours went by, I wondered how much worse it would get and how I would handle it. I asked for an epidural and the nurse said I wasn't dilated far enough for one. I asked her to check me so often she got irritated and would say, "It is not time yet. It's only been half an hour, and you need to stop asking me to check you so often." Ugh, I was so frustrated and upset!
Early morning I really thought there was no way I could make it through this. The nurse was telling me it would be at LEAST late afternoon, and I thought, no way. I cannot do this. Then my water broke! Alif said, "are you sure?" and it struck me so funny - I mean, there was a pop and water gushing out - I was SURE. Of course there was no laughing at this point - labor got REALLY SERIOUS after my water broke. This was at about 7:15 am. I called the nurse in and she checked me and said I'd dilated just about to a 3, so we could get an epidural now. YAY! I was so happy! Only thing though, the anesthesiologist was busy and he didn't get into the room until about 7:45. He got me all ready and by about 8:00 the epidural was in. I was still at a 3 when he started. A few minutes later I said that I had a lot of pressure, a LOT of pressure. The nurse dismissively said, "Ok hon, try and relax." The anesthesiologist was at the foot of the bed writing on something and he looked up and said, "Baby's crowning." Woah! Mad rush was ON! Nurses bustling, doctor called, bassinet wheeled in. At 8:10 am, after just a couple of pushes (if you could even call it that - I couldn't control it at all) my baby was born! I remember feeling like it was THE BIGGEST relief of my LIFE. One minute everything hurt and the next nothing did. My baby was out and lying across my abdomen. A nurse's voice said, "Well, what is it?" and someone else said, "It's a boy!" I wasn't surprised at all, which surprised me. It felt totally natural that I had a son. We had already chosen the name Malachi Michael for a boy.
He was absolutely perfect. I mean it. Every feature was beautiful. His skin was gorgeous. He had barely any hair and his little rosebud lips - oh, who could keep from kissing them? He had no eyebrows, not even a place where eyebrows should be, but he had beautiful blue eyes and long eyelashes. He had the tiniest little fingernails, and long, thin fingers that curled around mine like they were created just for me. He was seven pounds exactly, and twenty inches. He was perfect, perfect.
So now here we are - my beautiful baby boy has grown into a gorgeous big boy. He's such an amazing little person! Malachi is helpful and thoughtful and talented and smart. And he's halfway to when I'm supposed to be ready to let him go. I won't be ready. I just can't fathom that I could ever be ready for him to leave my cozy, safe, loving nest where he fits just right. I love him!
I have mostly been doing just fine with this Birthday, until we were having his little party yesterday, and Mom & I had brought out the cake and the ice cream, and we were about to light the candle. I met Lynette's eyes and she said, and she really meant it, "Nine! Can you believe he's nine?" I turned to the cake and tears welled in my eyes. No! I want to say, I can't! He can't already be nine years old! Please, somebody tell me that the next nine years won't go as quickly as the first nine did! Tell me that something will change in me, in our relationship, in him . . . and that I'll be ready for him to go. It hurts so much to even think of it now that I don't even want to think of what it will be like when it actually happens! My prayer today, as April 2, 2007 is coming to an end, is that I can carry this feeling every day. That each day I wake up and remember how short the time is, even when Mr. Wonderful Malachi has a pouty attitude about something I've said no to. That my devotion to shaping his character is stronger than my irritation with the mess he leaves on the bedroom floor. That my OWN character develops so that I am a really good example to him.
I really, really love you, Malachi.