Today marks my son’s 23rd birthday. So I felt it appropriate to write a bit about him.
As far as children go, some people want a bunch. I wanted two. I wanted a boy and a girl. The boy being the oldest. And that’s what I got. Interesting, since other details of my life haven’t played out as well. But in the children department, I’ve done stellar.
When my son was born, I didn’t have much of a clue. I never was the biggest fan of babysitting. And I had about as much experience with infants as I did with sharks. AKA not much. But, I managed.
The pregnancy went quite well. No problems. No sickness. I think maybe I gained too much weight but hey, no one’s perfect. The delivery was fairly mundane, as far as deliveries go. But. The moment he appeared in the world, the doctor realized the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Which caused his Apgar (had to look up the spelling on that one) score to be quite low. And he was rushed out of the room. His father rushed out behind. I was left. I am somewhat naive when faced with emergency situations. I’m a bit of a denier. Therefore I didn’t completely put it together. What was happening. Why the other VIPs had left the room and I was still there. Not long after, my son was brought to me. And all was well. The concern of him not being able to breath was gone. He was a breather. He was healthy. He was well. And I finally put together what had just happened.
A moment. The briefest sections of time when all is out of balance and you have no idea how it will play out. Slow motion and a quick rush to complete sobriety. Then you are given what will forever change your life.
There are no guarantees. Do everything right, to your best of abilities. The outcome is still uncertain. Raise a child. Give him what he needs. Help him as best you can. Try to be a good example. Expose him to opportunities. Take him places. Read him books. Teach him piano. And eventually let him go.
Open the door and watch him walk out. Knowing that just like the date of his birthday, there are no guarantees.
That’s an iffy business. Giving yourself. Everything you have. To a small person who needs you but can offer nothing in return. Then live through year after year, observing him grow and change and become. Knowing that your influence is great, as in scope, yet all the same, only so long then he is free.
I am on the other side now. He’s free. He’s walked out the door. Multiple times really. Which is a good thing because that’s the goal. In raising a kid, everything leads up to that. The cross over. Into adulthood. Maturity. Self sufficiency.
On the first day, the day of the umbilical cord situation, I had no idea what it would be like to be on this end. It seemed a lifetime ahead. But again, here I am. And it’s fine. I liked the baby then little boy. And I liked the little leaguer and the drummer. And now, now I like the grown up version just fine. The young man who can now lend advice. Give his opinion. Pal around with me. Make me dinner. Offer support.
I consider whether there are parents who don’t so much care for their adult kids. Maybe they liked the elementary soccer player but not the adult who is far from what they’d hoped their child would become. Personality conflicts. Vastly different interests. Generation gaps?
I am thankful my son is my son and that I like him. Love is one thing. Unconditional and easier because he’s a part of me. But to enjoy being with him. To be proud of who he is. Not just what he does. Not only his abilities or accomplishments. But to be glad he’s along for the ride.
Maybe what I’m saying is, I would choose him. I do choose him. And cherish the honor of being a portion of his very being.