Nineteen years ago today, I became a mom. At 6:17pm after an expedient but immensely painful four hour labor, without the epidural I begged for, I held a precious cone-headed boy in my arms. My baby. Who cared if he had a cone-head, he was stunningly perfect. And he was mine to love forever.
Nineteen years later, the head is back to its normal shape and size but he will always be my baby. You know what is even better? He still lets me call him Baby. He even responds to it. My baby who is now a young man. Strong, handsome, honorable, intelligent, funny, the adjectives pour out of me, I am crying as I write this.
My son, aptly named Nathaniel, means Gift of God. And like all good mommies, I have loved this child from the moment I heard I was pregnant and shake my head in wonder how someone like ME and my DH were bestowed with such a blessing.
Today is Nathan’s birthday and it is Easter and he is not here and that kind of stinks for two reasons.
1. I am used to having my son home for his birthday.
2. I am used to having my son home for Easter.
As I was decorating my dining room table, tears welled in my eyes realizing there is one less plate around the table. My baby is where he belongs. He is at West Point.
I don’t want to sound maudlin, although I do really like that word. I also don’t want to look ahead either because I know once my OS has graduated from USMA, he will be serving our country elsewhere. And it’s the “elsewhere” part that can really get my Lacrimal Glands going, if you know what I mean. I don’t need to borrow trouble.
Like most WP moms/dads/families who celebrate Easter, my cadet is there and I am here. We have to get used to this, buckle up our boot straps, put our big girl panties on, blah, blah, blah, but y’all, I’m still sad and wistful. Thinking back to all the April 12ths where I woke up and hugged my boy tightly as he rolled out of bed, where did that time go? Or the April 12ths when I scooped him up out of his crib wondering if I would ever get a good night’s sleep. Poof, they are now history.
And as is our family custom, in all the subsequent April 12ths, Nate would have finely festooned presents awaiting him at the kitchen table. One year a Barney, another year a dollhouse (it’s a LONG story and for the record, HE didn’t want the dollhouse), a bike but this year, I sent his presents away. My kitchen table has the Sunday paper and is decorated with crumbs and cereal bowls. Sigh. Poo.
My friend Beth Anne gave me a present last year as we were preparing for Nathan’s departure to West Point. I have such kind and loving friends, I actually got presents at Nate’s farewell party! But my friend Beth Anne gave me something that will sit atop the dining room table this Easter dinner. I placed it there last night and of course, the Lacrimal Glands activated. They are in full activation mode as I write this, folks.
To me this little figurine describes how I feel. I hold my Soldier close to my heart wherever he is. Now it’s West Point, one day it will be “elsewhere.” I hold all my OS intimately in my heart and praise the Lord, the other two are still home to annoy/love/pester/snuggle/amuse me.
Today I celebrate two things which have changed my life. Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus, the perfect, matchless Son of God rose from the dead to give me and the entire world, eternal life and victory over sin. I asked Him into my heart 12 years ago and have never been the same.
And the other blessed event happened a fleeting 19 years ago when that same Jesus allowed me to become a mother to my Gift of God. Happy birthday Baby!