“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”~Robert Frost
I never wanted children. When my husband and I started dating seriously, I told him I had no desire to have children. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be married, but I could see that easier than having a kid. I thought the world was pretty fucked up and I certainly had no idea what to do with a baby or a child. He, on the other hand, did want kids, but was willing to sacrifice that to be with me. Five years after we got married, my stepfather died suddenly. His death made me re-examine my life and my family and what made me happy. To this day, I still remember where my husband and I were when I told him I wanted to have a baby. We were eating at a Wendy’s 20 minutes from where we live. I was about to be 30 and I remember saying to him, “My family is so weird and wacky. Why wouldn’t I want that to continue?” Of course it still took another year for me to finally say, “Ok, let’s do this!” But after three years of trying we knew something wasn’t right. Was I too fat? Were my husband’s “boys” not good swimmers? We both had a bunch of tests and I thought for sure it was my husband. He’s 6 years older and has never been particularly healthy so I put all the blame on him. But nope! It was all me.
After a little exploratory surgery, my doctor told me my endometriosis was pretty bad and it had trapped one of my fallopian tubes. They freed it, and told us to start trying the next month. Three months later I was pregnant with our beautiful son.
There were complications along the way, and if we were living in an earlier time, my son and I would have died in childbirth or before. Placenta previa prevented me from having a natural childbirth, but once the idea of a cesarean settled into my brain, I was happy as hell about it. I was really ok not screaming and pushing and shitting and pissing. Some women feel bereft by having that experience taken away from them but I’m just not one of them. Instead, I knew the date my son would be born, I had an epidural (which is super fucking weird and unpleasant) and the doc pulled my son from my body at 2pm on April 20, 2007. He was an 8 pound beauty and just 1/2 inch shy of 2 feet long.
Jump ahead to today, fourteen years later. I am extremely fortunate to have a child who just yesterday, the day before he turned 14, asked to snuggle with me. We sat on our couch, he slouched down to put his head on my shoulder, and I smoothed out his hair while we just chatted about our weekend. To say my son brings me joy is the biggest understatement of the century. When I look at him, I see my baby, my child who is incredibly tall and clumsy and gentle and inquisitive and smart and who has to have the last word and must question why, why, why about everything! But…I can’t deny that I also see my brother. Phil was 6’6″, was also incredibly intelligent and inquisitive and morbid and made me laugh like no other.
And yet now, my son does that. My boy will tell me a story or a joke and I will laugh in a way I never have before. Literally. It’s like this wheezing laugh that I never used to have. I’m not sure what to make of it, except they say that you can laugh like you never have after living through or with pain. At this moment, that’s where I’m at. When I do laugh, especially with my son, it’s like my body and spirit are lit up with joy.
Don’t get me wrong, my boy and I argue like there’s no tomorrow. We are both stubborn and get hangry and frustrated easily. His lack of motivation drives me up the wall and I wish he’d comb his hair and brush his teeth without me asking. But all of that is absolutely nothing and I know it. I’m so grateful and damn lucky to be this boy’s mother.
When Robert Frost talked about happiness in height, I realize he wasn’t talking about people, but in this case, it fits. ❤
I love you, my son. I’m so happy you’re here.