As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Five Years Ago Today

Aaron is my fifth child to turn five, and this birthday has me pondering a lot of things. He is the latest born of all our children, and by far the most intense.  When my oldest turned five it was such new territory but I've done this a few times now, and still there is always something different about each one. And Aaron I think has been the most unique so far.  Because when I think I have everything figured out and I know the way things should go or where children should be, he's the one who teaches me that each child is unique, that each has his own way, and I need to learn from him rather than imposing my own views of how I think he should be.  Which is not unlike this day five years ago, when he made his grand entrance into the world.

No recollection of Aaron's birth story would be complete without first going to two days prior to his birth, when I (as most often happens) ceremoniously woke in the night with contractions, picked up the phone and woke the neighbors to come and stay with our sleeping children, called Jeff's parents so they could come here and relieve the neighbors, and my parents so that my Mom could meet us at the hospital. The bags were packed and we were ready - we knew how this went.  Except, we didn't. After I got settled into the hospital and was monitored for a few hours, everything just stopped.  It was false labor, a first for me.  There is nothing quite like that feeling of going to the hospital and making plans to bring home a baby, only to be discharged a few hours later still pregnant. Making things worse was the embarrassment of having caused such a commotion in the middle of the night for nothing.  I remember returning to my parents' home that day so I could rest.  Jeff went to work, his Mom kept our children for the day, and I snuggled down into my Dad's comfy couch and slept, just feeling so silly about the whole ordeal.

I had a doctor's appointment the next day, and she was very gracious to me.  She assured me that since I labor quickly I had made the right decision (which I knew) and checked me over head to toe.  After administering a membrane sweep she sent me home.  I remember laying in bed timing contractions that evening, and just being so hesitant to get up again. Why my labor always starts in the middle of the night I'll never know, but I wanted to be darn sure this time if I was going to call in the cavalry it would be to bring home a baby. When I decided that finally it was time to go in, my husband, like me, was hesitant.  Where he had rushed out of bed and quickly gotten ready two nights before, this time he took his time.  He also wanted to be sure it was the real thing, and to give me enough time to see if the contractions would pick up or die down.  He took a nice, long shower, during which time contractions started coming seven minutes apart.  When he got out of the shower and I told him how close they were, he panicked.  I hadn't even called anyone at that point because I still wasn't sure, but on his urging made the few quick calls we needed to and hit the road.  Our neighbor remarked as I passed her in our doorway that I looked different than I had two nights ago, that I had dropped.  "You look like you're having a baby tonight," she said.

My poor husband tore down our uneven dirt road at breakneck speed (since we live 45 minutes from the hospital) and I remember telling him that if he didn't slow down I would have the baby in the car!  Things really intensified quickly.  As it was a month before Christmas we were just heading into Advent, and my husband put on Steve Bell's Christmas album to help me relax. As I listened to the song "May it be Done" (based on Mary's Magnificat) I thought about what it really means to say "yes" to all of this - yes to a baby, but even more - yes when you don't have full control of the circumstances.  Yes on God's terms and not your own. I prayed the whole drive in that Mary would be my guide and that, like her, I would have the courage to say, "yes" to whatever the Lord asked of me for this baby.

His birth from what I remember was much like the others from there on out.  He was born at around 3:00 am, which was so great because once Jeff and my mother left Aaron and I had the whole day to ourselves.  I love having hospital visitors, but having a full day almost before people started coming in really gave me a lot of time to just be with this new baby. I had a private room for the first time as well, and it was so nice to be able to take a bath without needing to get a nurse for the baby.  And he was such an easygoing baby.  I remember bathing and getting dressed, and just looking at him so peaceful in his bassinet.  I was going to curl up and read a book when I realized that in a short amount of time we would be home, in our crazy house with all our kids - and what a perfect opportunity it was for me to lay with him. So even though he was swaddled and sleeping peacefully, I picked him up and nuzzled him to my chest, and we spent the whole day just like that.  It was glorious.

Since then he has grown into the best little boy we could ever ask for.  He is intense in every possible way, and feels life with everything in him. When he is happy, he explodes with joy, and everyone around him can't help but be drawn in.  When he is sad he falls apart easily, and needs extra gentle nurturing and loving. When he is angry he needs firm discipline, and with four older siblings is very quick to feel the need to prove himself.  He is fiercely loving, and very physical in his displays of affection. He loves with his whole person and relishes life, and it is a joy to witness him growing more and more into the person God made him to be.

Happy birthday sweet Aaron!  You inspire me daily to see life around me and to live with intensity. You are a champ in every sense of the word, and I could not be more proud to be your Mama.  I love you!