“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” –William Faulkner
When I was pregnant with my second son, I started “nesting” right from the beginning of the pregnancy. I cooked meals from scratch, baked bread, sewed these pretty little flannel burp cloths, sorted through and washed all the newborn clothes by month four, painted the bedroom and generally waited with excitement for his birth.
Because I had preeclampsia with Ryan (my firstborn), I was very careful of my diet, cutting back on sodium while upping my protein intake. Overall, the pregnancy was uneventful, and I looked forward to giving birth in a freestanding birthing center attended by midwives instead of a traditional hospital. Actually, the wonderful pregnancy led me to be a little cocky about parenting a second child in general.
“You got this.” I told myself smugly. “No problem.”
After all, my firstborn cried four hours straight every night for months on end. His birth also entitled me to horrible labor inducing meds, a brutal episiotomy requiring more than thirty stitches, and an extended recovery period lasting most of his first year. Now, I was a seasoned professional. I was having midwives. I truly believed nothing could be worse than the infanthood of my firstborn.
What I discovered was that there are trade offs in everything.
The birthing center was beautiful and peaceful, but even they were surprised at the speed with which Aaron decided to be born. No labor inducing drugs were necessary. He flew out so fast his birth was nearly unattended by any midwife at all. Oh and he was kind enough to leave skid marks inside me. Nothing could slow his entry into the world. No stitches were required, but those skid marks were their own special kind of inconvenience.
I was so cocky about being in control of this birth that I didn’t pay attention to how Aaron latched on the first time he ate. As a result, I suffered through painful feedings for nearly three weeks.
Yes. There were indeed trade offs in this secondchildgig.
On the upside, Aaron was calm and peaceful and slept for four to five hours once a night right from the first day I brought him home. If he woke up earlier than I wanted him to, I would throw one of those hand stitched flannel burp cloths I made over his head, and he’d conk right out for another hour or so. (To this day, he still loves to sleep with a hoodie over his head.) Aaron rarely cried and went to bed awake without needing any special rocking or fuss.
But about three years old, Aaron discovered his temper. Perhaps he was so laid back in the beginning, he just stored it all up and saved it for year three. Whatever the reason, the season of temper tantrums hit Aaron with a vengeance. And they stuck around for a number of years, too.
I remember one time hearing some serious scuffling going on upstairs and heading up to see what exactly was happening. I found Ryan holding Aaron’s head at arms length and Aaron just swinging away at the air toward Ryan.
Immediately I set about rescuing poor Aaron, “Let him go Ryan! That’s just not nice!”
Ryan kept a firm hold on Aaron’s head and looked at me as if I had just grown another head, “Are you kidding me, mom?! If I let him go, those fists are heading straight into me!!!!”
“Oh no. He won’t hit you.” I said, confident in my ability to intervene. I looked Aaron in the eyes, “You won’t keep hitting him if he lets go, will you Aaron?”
My answer was a deepened frown and an increased intensity in his swing. Once Aaron made his mind up about anything (even being angry), there was no talking him out of it. He might come around eventually, but it would be on his own terms and at his own pace.
The evening of the scuffle between the boys, Aaron eventually tired and Ryan let go. They made up as they always did, and life went in as usual…until the next time.
Aaron’s temper was close to the surface for a number of years, but gradually his temper grew and settled into a kind of fierce determination. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry writes in The Little Prince: “The only things you learn are the things you tame.” Aaron didn’t let his his temper get the best of him; he learned to funnel all that energy into determination. He didn’t sit around and wait for life to happen to him, instead he went out and happened to life.
He still does. Just as Aaron raced into this world at breakneck speed, so he races into every experience in his life.
Today on his birthday, I celebrate the man he has become–a go-getter who follows his dreams, knows his passions and isn’t afraid to work hard to attain both. He doesn’t let obstacles or change stand in his way. Today, on his birthday I celebrate Aaron and his spirit of determination!
I wouldn’t trade a moment of the days I’ve spent with you, Aaron. May you continue to forge ahead wherever God leads you.
Happy 22nd Birthday!
“Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then… find the way.” –Abraham Lincoln