I was 20 years old when the first one came to reside beneath my heart.
My fiancé and I were naïve. Clueless. Excited. Over-the-moon thrilled. We knew we wanted you The rest would work itself out. I dove headlong into parenthood, assuming it would be a piece of cake. The ultrasound said boy I hemmed and hawed and worried myself over that for a bit. A BOY???? How would I handle that? I was a girl. I knew girl things. Would I know how to bond with a boy? Would he WANT to bond with me? Motherhood became a little scary that day. I felt his first flutters. Then his first kicks at 20 weeks. bump-bump-bump. A solid knock below my rib cage 3 times. The earth screeched to a halt and colors grew brighter. This was for real. The day I fell in the parking lot and then spotted into my underwear bright red blood, lay on the bed in the ER and held my breath for the entire ten million minutes it took the doctor to find the heartbeat. The whooshwooshwoosh filled my ears like the most amazing crescendo of orchestra I had ever heard in all of my life and I cried. He was born 10 weeks later. They tried to stop my pre term labor and when that didn’t work they broke my water, pumped up the Pitocin and gave me my very first catheter. 48 hours of labor. Out he slid so fast I was afraid the midwife was going to drop him. He was tiny. Pink-purple. Perfect. I yearned to touch him in the NICU. He was a mess of tubes ad wires. He grimaced when he would try to move his head towards me and the tube in his throat tugged. I stood under the hot steam of the shower at the Ronald Mcdonald House and cried. That first time I held him….the universe faded away. he fit like this tiny puzzle piece I hadn’t even realized had been missing.
He was fire. Bold. Brave. We went on walks around the block everyday and I would show him beetles and ants and the way the leaves changed colors and the shapes of clouds. He was the first one I potty trained. the first one I bought a toddler bed for. The first one I watched grow up into a young man.
I don’t recall the last time I picked him up to hold him close to me. I recall the first time, but I cannot recall the last. One day I scooped him up casually and snuggled him. Maybe to say goodnight to, maybe to soothe a boo boo, maybe to tickle and hear him giggle. All I know is, that day, whenever it was, I put him back down and never picked him up again.
And five more came after him. Despite the fact I told God back in 2000 that I didn’t KNOW boys, and therefore what was he thinking giving me a boy? He went on to give me six. Six marvelous boys.
The second one came in his stubborn way. Head tilted up, chin thrust forward, refusing to be born on any terms but his. he was born with a dent in his forehead from my pelvic bone from that stubbornness. The dent went away. The stubborn nature stayed. He has a fiery nature. Always adamantly defending the little guy, always ready to defend his point. He is smart and he knows it. Reminds me of his father. Determined. Bull headed. Brave. Leader.
The third boy arrived quietly. I reached down as he emerged, felt his hot, wet orb of a skull emerge and I laughed out loud right in the middle of my push. Laughed with an overwhelming wave of bliss. Here he was. The undercurrent to the second ones tidal wave. The sit-in-a-chair-and-read to every one else’s run out to play. He sees the good in people. He is sensitive to the world. He feels strongly. Loves loyally. Seeks out animals. Has a smile that melts the coldest of hearts. A sparkle in his eyes.
The fourth boy. I was a single mama when he was born. Held him close in the hospital room after the nurses all left and cried to be doing this alone but swore to him with all that was in me that I would never leave, that he and I ….we were in this together. I vowed to be his #1 fan. Gave him a name that meant promise and love and God hears. Because I did, I do and He does. Number four has so many thoughts in his head that they spill out of his head through his mouth from sun up to sun down. He is inquisitive, ponderer, thoughtful. he cannot always control his actions but he will love you something fierce and make syou bust out laughing at his clever wit.
Number five. Number five was born and when the nurse brought him over to me, all wrapped up like a burrito, he threw his arm out of the blanket, grabbed a hold of my finger and clung to it for dear life. When the nurse tried to pull him back he yelled out a disgruntled whine, let go for a brief second to smack at her hand and then grabbed back on to my finger. This is his favorite story.He has been a mamas boy since. Determined to be independent from birth on one hand, but always seeking me out. To chat with, to laugh with, to snuggle with. He shared a bed with me for 5 years before one day climbing in his own bed and just never needing to sleep by my side again. When he gets scolded or lectured he does headstands. When he is proud of himself he will drag you across the house to show you what he has accomplished and demand applause. He shines.
Number six has been a spitfire since birth. He came out yelling and letting the world know he was here damnit. He spends his days singing. Sings himself to sleep, sings himself awake, sings when he is mad or sad or silly or happy. His world has a heartbeat that sounds like a drum. He loves to dance. Loves to run. Gets this look on his face of utter glee and pure euphoria when he is being chased by his brothers or Mommy or Daddy. Hates clothes. Loves being free. Loves duckies and buggies but is terrified of the Tiger blanket because it might bite him so the sheet has ducks and the pillow has bumble bees but the tiger blankey sits folded on the shelf. he is my firecracker with the very best giggle.
Then came seven.
Not a boy.
My princess in a universe of princes.
But not so much. Because she is spoiled rotten. They fight over who picks out her cloths, who will take her on a walk, who will play with her. They fight over who will hold her and Mommy and Daddy hold her too and I swear her feet might never touch the ground.
Except they do. She takes tentative determined steps with a big grin on her face. She holds her own sippy cup. She throws her head back to laugh. She loves egg rolls and yogurt and cheesy puffs. She can crawl faster than a race car. She has 6 tiny teeth. She loves her Hello Kitty night light and her Hello Kitty back pack the very best. She kisses her Sunshine Bear. She kisses her Mommy and her Daddy and her biggest brother.
They are an amazing crew. A fabulous clan. An incredible medley of awe inspiring love and laughter and everything is holy holy holy and wonderful. I am richly blessed. And grateful. So grateful.
They have made me who I am today. Discerning. Patient. Humble. Smarter. Thankful. Mother.
Every single day is Mothers Day in my world.
I wake up and they have made me coffee. They want to help make breakfast. He is singing in his bed. She is smiling around a corner. They are reading. They are laughing. They are building a house for a monkey from a box and can they please use a kitchen towel for a blanket for the monkey because he is sick probably. They are learning new things. They are teaching me new things. They are eating watermelon on the front porch and spitting seeds. They are using my rolling pin to make pizza with play dough. He needs me to tie his shoe but refuses to learn how. She toddles over to me and grabs my skirt. I am laughing and loving. Wondering and worrying. Hoping and praying. Every single day I am growing right alongside them.
Someday. Someday they will grow up. And I will miss this. So much.
Today I will enjoy it.