Monday, May 18, 2015

A Defining Moment

     In thinking about what I wanted to write today, my initial title was "The Day My Life Changed Forever".  Then I started thinking about it and there have been so many turning points that it wouldn't be right to choose just this one as THE pinpoint moment.  When you grow up as a military brat, change is not only inevitable but becomes a way of life.  I think that those of us who live a gypsy life tend to, as adults, either embrace constant change or dig in our heels, put down roots and abhor change.  I like to think that I fall into the former camp.  So when I reflect, I see a lot of "big" moments that turned my path from where I thought it would go, each of them defining.  That said, like getting married, moving overseas both times, each of my four (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Lung Disease and Degenrative Disc Disease) diagnoses, there was one big moment that changed my world completely.  That would be the moment that I became a mom.

     Twenty-eight years ago today, we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  It was not a surprise.  We had been married 15 months, we had made the decision that while Jim was active duty would be a good time to have a child, and we thought we were prepared.  Whoa Nelly were we wrong.  I was supremely, naively and arrogantly confident during my pregnancy.  After all, I was 19 and knew everything.  *Can you just feel me roll my eyes with that last statement?* We stocked up on diapers, we picked names, we got the house ready and when it was time to deliver- we thought we had everything covered.  I even had a quick and fairly easy labor and delivery.  We were still thinking "We've got this- no problem!"  Hubby went back to work as we were in the middle of an exercise on the base and I was wheeled away to rest while they cleaned Josh up and got him ready to face the world.

     Then, they handed me that sweet baby.  They put him in my arms, I looked down at him and thought to myself "Oh Dear GOD- I am totally responsible for this beautiful, innocent, totally helpless child!  Now what!?!"  I realized as I looked into his eyes that I knew absolutely nothing. I realized that I was not as grown up as I had thought just a few hours before.  I looked at his tiny fingers and toes as he snuggled in and nearly had a panic attack.  It was incredibly humbling.  It was scary as heck and it made me question everything I knew about where I was in my life.  It redefined not only the way I looked at the world but the way I looked at myself.

    It's been a lot of years since that moment but when I look back I am still flooded with those same feelings. I would not be wrong if I said we grew up together.  I know that we did our best to raise Josh despite just feeling our way along.  I am incredibly proud of the man he's grown to be so we must have done something right.  We will never really know but even now those doubts creep in and I wonder what I could have done differently.  When I think about him and reflect back on our parental years I can see things that I wish I had done, things I perhaps shouldn't have done and it causes me to question everything.  That moment is still defining me after all of these years.

     Happy Birthday Joshua.  At each phase of your life you have changed mine as we grew.  You have challenged me, you have changed me over and over and having you in my life makes my Grinch heart grow three sizes when I think of you. Thank you for being you.  Thank you for making me want to be a parent you could be proud of and thank you for sharing your life with me even now when you have a choice.  You are the sun in my sky and I love you dearly.

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