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My son, the blessed.

March 30, 2011
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I’ve been thinking it over, and I think I can say that the day Judah was born was the best day of my life.  It was the peak of my life, you see, the absolute most Syreeta-day there could be, for me.

What that represents to me, because of over-thinking or whatever, is that the part of my life that I’ve been looking forward to all of my life has happened.  I’ve always wanted to become a mother, and now I have and all my kids are here and that time is in the past.  It happened so fast.  It began so fast, Richie said, and he’s right and I totally appreciate that, I really do.  But I can’t help noticing that now, as a woman, I am really not young at all and from now on, I’m basically just preparing myself for the time when my children leave me and I have to/get to entirely shift focus.

I mean, the reason for that, of course, is the same as the thing that keeps you from focusing on anything else in the first place and that is raising the kids and preparing them for life on their own.  It’s a full-time job, and it is the kind of work that you will ponder and second-guess for the rest of your life, even if you’re mostly circling your work and admiring the payoff.  How could you not?  I mean, at least, how could I not?  And you know, I love the challenge and experiental element of that, I love it.  It’s my ideal project.  Trying to reach enlightenment myself, and prepare my kids for it??  I mean, talk about tough.  But I’m tough, you know, at least relatively speaking.  I mean, of course I wouldn’t survive one second in an even slightly harsher environment, in any way, but that’s another tangent altogether.  My point is, at this point, that no matter how not-abrupt it is to send your kids off into the real world and be forced to face your empty nest, it’s still probably pretty abrupt.  I already feel sorry for myself!

What I really want to spend time on is not my own pity-party, but the miracle that is Judah.  He was conceived about a week before I was diagnosed with a benign (thankfully) ovarian tumor the size of a tennis ball.  In fact, I received the diagnosis of pregnancy and of the tumor on the same day in the emergency room at BBurg Hospital.  We, the three of us that we used to be, were at a friend’s birthday party, swimming in the pool and jumping on the trampoline.  A good friend of ours, of everyone, had recently passed away, and there was a certain pall over the day, anyway.  I started feeling a really nasty feeling in my lower abdomen, and less than thirty minutes later I was puking out the car window while Richie rushed me to the ER.  (I have to proclaim that living in my hometown has been an absolutely wonderful idea when it comes to childcare needs, emergency support, etc…  We didn’t even have to worry that my mother would be at our house to scoop Irene up about 5 minutes after we called her.)

The emergency room doctor told us the news that we were about a week pregnant, and that I had this large tumor that would have to be removed.  It was a hard night, and an even harder few weeks.  We were planning to do the surgery at about 20 weeks, supposedly the “safest” time, but when the tumor transformed itself from “tennis ball” to “cantelope” in less than three weeks, and I was feeling the kind of pain that even multiple doses of morphine injected directly into my veins couldn’t relieve, we all decided surgery was prudent.  I went in on August 16, when I was just six weeks pregnant.  The anastesiologist did her thing, and she was kind, but she had to explain the risks.  There are big risks.  Right now, vital organs are being produced.  And you won’t know until birth, really, if this surgery has caused this baby to have birth defects.

This is the point of the story where MAD props have to go out to: Richie, and my friends, Erin, Nicole, Martha, and Alex.  In what felt like the longest pregnancy of ALL TIME, they listened, patiently, to my worries, complaints, fears, panics.  I was very concerned about the well-being of the baby.

And I was feeling another mysterious feeling, too.  It was that feeling that happens during pregnancy, sometimes, I assume, where you start to know your child before you’ve even seen him.  I started really loving the baby, and feeling so very connected to him, in a more concrete way than I had when I was expecting Irene.  Somehow, I remarked, I got the distinct feeling that this baby was meant for me, whatever that means.

The pregnancy was tough, but the labor and delivery were beautiful, and when I saw Judah for the first time, the sense of relief I felt at his absolute perfection was worth the months of worrying and fretting.  I’d never felt such a sense of gratefulness as I did when I saw Judah, squirming and wailing in my arms, marked a little on his head with one lovely peach-fuzz birthmark, strong and blonde.

But, you know, the day after Judah was born was also the best day of my life because on that day, Judah met Irene.  And the next day was my favorite, too, because that day, we came home from the hospital and it was so wonderful having Martha with us and Richie had a whole week practically totally off and Judah was so small. And then there have been about three hundred simply wonderful days since then and it’s really hard to imagine that the best day of my life won’t be happening again and again and again.

And watching my relationship with the kids develop, and their relationships with one another and with their dad is so satisfying, and brings me to tears of joy, you know, almost daily, and I am also just so grateful that I am in this situation and that I am able to appreciate the beauty of my life every day, every moment.  And bad things happen, and hard things, and once in a while I throw a gigantic pity-party for myself and that’s okay.  I don’t think I would be me if I didn’t feel stuff like sooooo hard, and I truly think life is only worth living all in.

The best part of all of this, of course, is the kid Judah turned out to be.  He is fearless and funny and subtle and deliberate, and quiet and tender and loving and hungry.  And, I know this is over the top but it’s true: it’s an absolute honor being his mother.

So, today, I will allow myself a little bitty bit of pity- for my body, which has borne all its babies, and for my future self, who will be sending two beloved ones out into the big bad world.  But tomorrow, it’s back to the grind, the daily task part of this whole thing, and I will welcome the distraction.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. EAP permalink
    March 31, 2011 6:09 PM

    This whole entire post beautifully summarizes the reasons why you’re my best friend. Basically.

    The last time I nearly burst out crying (in public) was at Nawab, right after you told me about that detestable tumor. I remember thinking “okay, okay, SHE’S the one who should be freaking out, NOT you, stay calm, stay calm…”and sort of mentally fanning away my anxiety and telling myself that you and the baby would be okay. And somehow, I knew that it would, because you are so, so, so incredibly strong.

    Honestly, I like to think that lil’ Badass Judah willed that evil tumor away. 🙂 He shot it a few fetal sideeyes and balled up his fists, and it decided to stop picking *that* fight.

    At any rate, it’s pretty strange that his conception coincided with something so scary, and I am SO glad it all turned out gloriously.

  2. April 19, 2011 12:43 PM

    Oh honey, yes. The day a child is born, whether they live or die, is an incredibly profound experience. I feel proud to share my own birthday with Judah. I hope someday to snuggle them both.

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