My Baby Boy

“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.

Double Digits

It’s been one decade since my son was born. Ten years. On many days, it seems like just yesterday I was changing his diapers and  yearning for an entire night of sleep. Most of the time, though, it feels like the baby days were a lifetime ago. And I’m totally ok with that.

I didn’t do so well with the newborn/infant stage. Like many parents, I had no idea what I was doing. Although to be honest? I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ve learned to fake it. I love my boy with everything I have and I try to listen to him and encourage him to make good choices and I try to be a decent role model. I think that’s the best I can do.

As my son gets older, each new year brings my new favorite age. At one, he started walking. At age four, we could start having conversations. At five he was reading to me and telling me stories. At seven I realized what a funny kid he was  (and is) and what a class clown he had become. At nine, his YouTube channel debut made me just as proud as it made him. And now at ten? Who knows what the year will bring. But I know how happy I am at the human being he’s becoming.

These past few days as we’ve driven home, the boy has read Garfield and Peanuts comics to me until we both laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. And in the past month, we’ve had the best discussions about gender roles and stereotypes and about how fantastic it was to finally see a gay boy in a graphic novel for middle schoolers. (Thank you, Raina Telgemeier!!) I feel like I’m pretty liberal in my political and social views on the world, but my son’s ideas have challenged them. He’s of the belief that anyone really can do anything. If you’re a boy and want to join the Girl Scouts, you should. If you’re a girl and want to join the Boy Scouts, you should do that. He doesn’t see anything “wrong” or even “weird” for either of those scenarios.  If you’re transgender? Great! If you’re not? Great! It doesn’t matter to him. Just do what you want to. Accept everyone, no matter what. Don’t tolerate, accept. And I find that absolutely awesome.

I think my boy will find the world a challenging place and it often won’t bend the way he wants it to. But hopefully in the future he can change what he’s able to and go with the flow when he needs to.

For right now though? For right now I hope he can continue to just be himself–the gamer, the tall kid, the sports player, the reader, the clown, the actor, the Youtuber, the creator of zombie peep massacre dioramas, the cat lover, the writer–and be happy with who he is and who he is becoming. Because I certainly am.

Happy 10th birthday, my beautiful boy!