He turned 36 years old a few days ago…how is that possible when I remember the moment he entered the world… like it was yesterday. YESTERDAY!!! Not 13,140 yesterdays ago! In those intervening years, I promised myself that I would remember it all…the cute sayings, the funny stories, all of the firsts, the proud moments…but sadly… I don’t. Cobwebs have overtaken parts of my brain. The fog of age has slowly drifted in. Thank goodness for those birthday letters written lovingly each year to record them forever. But, THAT day, the day of his birth, I remember with crystal clarity.
I remember the sights and the sounds. I remember the excitement in the air. I remember his first breath, his first cry, my words that I swore I wouldn’t say, but fell out of my mouth anyway… Does he have all his fingers and toes? I remember Steve’s face when they told us….It’s a boy!!…a surprise worth waiting for. I remember the absolute JOY that we felt in participating in one of God’s breathtaking miracles. I remember the thankfulness that I had for the love between Steve and me that produced this little angel from Heaven. I remember standing in awe at what my body could do in perfect nano second precision to grow this tiny human and deliver him safely to us. I marveled at the creation of life encompassed in our miniature bundle. I felt as if I were the only woman on earth to have performed such a feat. If I could go through childbirth every single day of my life to feel these wonderful feelings, I would gladly do so. I cherish my memories now, more than ever.
An unexpected love began to grow with the first flutterings of life within, and exploded into our world on the day we met him. Our hearts were catapulted into a new stratosphere. I have come to believe that is the true meaning of unconditional love….a love that encompasses a life before you even know who they will be…what they will do…where they will go…or if they will love you back. It is an unexplainable love to those whom have never experienced it. It is a fierce primal love of wanting to protect, and comfort, and guide. It is an intense desired love to smooth out the rough edges of life’s path and help navigate around the hurts. It is a burgeoning love that just keeps amplifying until you feel that you could burst with it. A child may outgrow the need of their parent, but a parent never outgrows the need of their child. Although the umbilical cord was cut on his day of birth, for me there will always be a permanent tether to the love and feelings that were also born that day.
And so, my first born, from this vantage point in time, I will have to ask your forgiveness in not doing it all right. Forgive us our shortcomings for not knowing everything we should have done, for just as you were a first born child, we were first time parents. I wish we’d had the wisdom to put aside our fears of inadequacy and uncertainty. I wish we could have raised you as if we’d done this all before, not making you the guinea pig to our inexperience. I wish we could have been more laid back in our responses to your accomplishments. I know that you must have gathered by the intensity of our delighted laser focused attention to your every word and deed, that your job was to always please us. You already did….on that day you were born. Being YOU was always enough and still is.
We could write books on what we did wrong; I have no doubt. I’m sure that you could add your own chapters to them. However, on one thing I stand firm, whatever we did, right or wrong, it was all done out of a heart chock full of love. We are thankful beyond measure that God gave you to us, naive and callow as we were, and poured His love into the gaps of where we fell short.
Happy Birthday to My First Born!