I was walking in the mall because it was the coolest place I could think of, breathing through occasional contractions, not knowing that they would become regular in about three hours, and that the next morning my life would change forever. Even in the early stages of labor I didn’t fully realize the enormity of the responsibility I was about to undertake. I didn’t know that between one heartbeat and the next I would learn that I’d never really known what all-consuming love was before. I didn’t know that I would be surprised by the ferocity and tenderness of it. I knew that I would have sleepless nights and that the first few months would be difficult, but I had no idea how difficult they would be. My biggest fear was the pain I was facing. I didn’t know that fear would hang around, lurking in the shadows, for years to come, and that I would have to face down the fear and replace it with faith.
The sweet boy I was getting ready to birth will be heading off to college in less than a month. In the last year I’ve had frequent glimpses of the man he’s becoming, and I’m pleased with how he’s turning out in spite of my mistakes. I know I’m going to miss him when he goes, and there will be a certain amount of worry involved. I was 19 once, too, and I know what kids can get into once they don’t have parents to go home to. Based on what I’ve seen this summer, though, I think it’s going to be all right.
Happy birthday, Alex! Fly! Be free!!!!