What time is it?
(squints in the dark, trying to eyeball the clock)
Oh. It’s 5:15 am. (goes to stretch) um OUCH.
(heads to bathroom…notices some weird alien like goo in the toilet bowl….frantically runs for the cell phone laying on the bed)
“Mom…Mom…MOM! There’s…there’s something in the toilet. Some goo looking thing, it’s all…brown and clear and red. Should I call my midwi-oh and my back hurts. It has this dull ache in it-is that labor? Oh it is?! Ok, ok, I’m going to call her now. I’ll call you back! “
And that is how, 5 years ago today, my labor started.
I remember when I left my midwife’s appointment that day, after she told me I was in active labor and 3cm dilated that it started snowing. I remember all of my friends being excited and wanting to help in some kind of way. I remember my mother took the fastest train from New Jersey, like ever, to get there to see her first grandson be born….and laugh at my labor pains. Seriously, who laughs and cracks jokes every time their daughter goes into a contraction? My mother, obviously.
I remember learning for the first time what back labor was (they didn’t mention THAT during my midwife visits). I remember taking a bath to try to “relax” my midwife said, but honestly? I was funky y’all. I had been either peeing or throwing up on myself every contraction…did I mention they were 2-3 minutes apart?
I remember the doctor, Sarah, who was both a midwife and a doctor….she told me to listen to my body and just go with its rhythmic urges. I remember that as I started pushing my nurse and I made a bet that I would have him out before the season premiere of that year’s all new Grey’s Anatomy.
I remember my best friend calling me and asking me to wait to push him out until she could get there to hold my hand….
But at 5:47pm, two minutes before she arrived, he arrived….placed on my chest for me to hold. He had the biggest, blackest eyes I had ever looked into. He was looking right at me, right into my eyes, and his soft but intent gaze went straight to my soul.
In that moment I didn’t care that his father wasn’t there to see him delivered, or that he would never be a part of his life.
In that moment I didn’t care that the only place we had to sleep was a friend’s couch.
In that moment I didn’t care that, living off of unemployment, I could barely afford to buy him any clothes.
All I cared about was that he was there. We had made it. Through all the struggles, the pain of being abandoned and left to fend for ourselves, through the days when I would wait for hours at social services offices just to get healthcare and benefits so we could survive, eat, and have a healthy start. All the fears, and shame I felt for not being able to provide him with more. The guilt I felt about leaving the military, even though I knew that as a single mother, being a police officer was the wrong job for us. All of that dissipated in that brief moment when we looked at each other for the first time.
Today Brennan, my “Stink Stink” is 5 years old.
I can’t believe it. He’s so grown up now. So far from the little chunky monkey who I nursed in the back of my Corolla while out looking for jobs and taking him to appointments.
We’re far from the days where we slept on my friend Dion’s couch, Brennan tucked right up under me, our body warmth the only comfort I had in those first stressful months.
People ask me all the time why I believe in God when I’ve been through so much hell.
Honestly? Brennan. God gave me Brennan.
Who else would know what this heart, abused, mistreated, and broken by life and circumstance would need to heal it?
Who else would know what it would take to mend me and make me whole again?
I could have had a daughter, and that would have been nice.
But having a son….who loves me as God Himself does, unconditionally, without reservation, and with all of who he is? It heals me. DAILY. It heals the parts of me that have been ravaged and destroyed by others.
God knew that I struggle with the idea of having a heavenly father who loves me because my biological one did not. He knew unconditional love and grace would be concepts I would struggle to comprehend and hold on to. He knew that I would suffer mentally and would need a reminder.
So He gave me a son who is all of those wrapped up in a this little body that is growing up too fast for me, in these gangling arms that wrap themselves around me when I least expect it, in the hands that are placed on my shoulder, in the random kisses and words of encouragement that always seem to come at the right moment. When I’m hurting the most but trying to hide it, it’s Brennan who walks up to me and says, “Mommie I love you. You’re a good mommie. It’s ok. It will get better. Don’t be sad.”
Happy Birthday Brennan. You heal my heart and save my life daily. You are my favorite Marvel Superhero, my favorite Power Ranger, my favorite aspiring musician.
I love you.
“Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try….to fix you.” (Coldplay)