Today, you, Eric, my oldest son turns sixteen years old. Since the day you were born I have been practicing living in the moment. The moments are the small memories that make up a life well-lived both on the best and the hardest days. Your story is worth telling and every year, I know the fact that I tell you that your are a miracle gets a little more embarassing for you. You, dear Eric, are a superstar more resilent than you will ever comprehend. Being a mother to you and Noah has taught me to approach each day with purpose and meaning. After bringing you home from the hosptial, I told a dear friend that I wanted to enjoy motherhood more and worry less. With that, I began working to release things that no longer served me, you, and our family. It hasn’t always been pretty but as I once read ” we are all beautiful works in progress.”
I will continue to be the best mother I can and hope that you forgive me when my very human and inevitable shortcomings arrive. When I am in the passenger seat of the car you are learning to drive, the moment is difficult to hold and, sometimes I just scream. Sorry bud. As you continue to mature into a man and become your own person, I will continue to be astounded by you because I know I am witnessing a beautiful miracle. Thank you for choosing met to be your Mama.
Here are some of the previous birthday and story posts about Eric’s special and (extremely early arrival):
The Special Mother
Motherhood The Second Oldest Profession
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year thousands of mothers will give birth to a premature baby. Did you ever wonder how mothers of preemies are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron saint, Matthew.
“Forest, Majorie, daughter. Patron saint, Ceceila.
“Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron saint… give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.
Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a premature baby.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly, “ smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But does she have patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it.
“I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence that are so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness? Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child who comes in a less than perfect way. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied.
“She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘Mommy’ for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. When her child sees green grass or fall colors with perfect vision she will know that it is nothing less than amazing. When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.
“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, judgment, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, the pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”
Enjoy this day and every day on this note:
There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is.
-Albert Einstein (fellow preemie)