Just about everyone said it.
“You have one of each. You’re blessed.”
It’s true, we were. Well, maybe I am a bit more blessed for having your brother and sister than they are for having me. I’m working on that part. But, something didn’t feel right. Something wasn’t complete.
My heart didn’t feel whole and I don’t mean it in the way of complacency, contentment or emptiness. I knew a spirit was intended to find me and join our family. It may not have made sense to anyone else, but the thought of you made every bit of sense to me. Truth be told, no soon after we discussed expanding our family, you arrived. It’s as if you were waiting for God’s invitation in our hearts and just as we accepted, so did you.
At the time, I was in shock. I would have never (I repeat), never brought your brother and sister along for the appointment if I thought it was anything other than a serious case of the stomach flu. It’s a moment I’ll never forget and turns out, it’s a moment I am blessed to say I don’t believe your brother will ever forget either.
“You’re pregnant,” said the nurse.
“What!? Wait, me? Are you sure?”
Isaiah scurried beside me and said, “Mommy, you have a baby in your belly?”
Autumn just sat there dazed and confused like I was but for different reasons. I don’t think the nurse realized that I didn’t expect to hear news that our family was expanding. All I remember repeating (as if I was on instant re-play) was,
“I really just thought it was the stomach bug. Like, how sure are you?”
I got your brother and sister in the car and just sat in my seat for quite some time holding my belly. I was in shock because as parents, we think about all of the particulars. We think about the finances, the necessities, the energy and the health concerns. Since your brother was just about to turn 4 at the time, I knew he wouldn’t keep this secret for too long. So off we went. We headed to your father’s work and sat on the lawn while we waited for him to come out of class. Isaiah didn’t wait too long before blurting out,
“Mommy has a baby in her belly.”
And so the journey began. In less than one year in the very same location we went from this:
Not unlike any of my other pregnancies, I worried about your development all of the time. I refused to take anything aside from a multi-vitamin because I wanted to ensure you had the very best care I could provide. It’s funny actually. One might think the first flutters, the first kicks and even dreams get old, but they don’t. I treasured all of it. You were on your way and my excitement for knowing how you were about to transform our family grew just as you did.
Unlike with your brother and sister, you had four people awaiting your arrival. Four people fighting over which would feel your first kick. Four people imagining what you would look like and four people waiting to hold you in their arms. Life was about to get busy, more complicated, more chaotic and demanding, but it was about to become more FULL.
Every one of you brings something different to our family just like every connection through my pregnancy with you all miraculously characterizes my relationship with each and every one of you.
~You peed on me no soon after I delivered you and now I know it was the first indication of your preference to successfully lighten the energy in a room.
~You had silent reflux and allergies that no one believed the first three months. You taught me to use my voice and resist fear to advocate for what I knew you needed.
~You were born in the season of renewal where our family was beginning to accept that our boundaries were imperative to protecting the connection of our growing family.
But do you want to know what you brought that I couldn’t have realized? I dreamed about it, but how would I ever know all of the indefinite ways it would be actualized? You brought a bond with two siblings whose adoration for you fills my heart with joy, promise, hope, love, happiness and contentment in a way I can’t always put into words.
So I try to capture it. Every moment you smile. Every moment you laugh. Every moment you reach for one of our hands. Every moment you doze off in my arms. Every moment you grunt. Every moment you are patient, flexible, adaptable and forgiving. Being the youngest isn’t always easy, but you respond as if it’s a position you designed specifically for you.
Something shifted in our home when you were born. I believe it shifted in all of us. It was year of transformation for multiple reasons, but you are by far the best catalyst for change. Before you were born, I wanted to write a quote to put on the wall of your nursery. It came naturally to me because it’s true. Every word of it.
“Our dream wasn’t complete without you in it.”
That’s it Benny. You are what was missing. Each and every day that I accept the honor of being your mother, I think about what life would be like if you weren’t here. I can’t even fathom it. The best gift you offer me is that look of acceptance only a mother can truly identify and connect with. It’s as if you recognize the journey we took together on the other side to bring us to this side together.
You turn one today and while it’s a joyous and blessed occasion, it’s also a sad one for me. I know that if I honor you responsibly, another person will occupy that space in your heart we grew together. I know through each stage comes new beginnings and losses. I just hope that I soak up every moment, capture every bit that I possibly can and prove that I was a worthy choice as your mom.
I didn’t know that despite life being full, blessed and busy in September of 2015 that you and God were awaiting the invitation. I took it and thank God I did because then came you.
Happy Birth~day to my sweet, joyful, comically smart, abundantly patient, selflessly loving, tender and juicy boy.
Your Forever Indebted, Imperfect but Hopelessly Devoted and PROUD Mama