Eighteen years ago, I was desperate to have a baby. And when I say desperate, I mean I’d already been to the hospital once and they’d sent me back home. NOT the most encouraging moment of my life. I was a little bit scared and a whole lot confident that I knew exactly how things were going to happen – and no one was going to convince me to do anything I didn’t want to do.
It’s one thing to say you’re in complete control of your body and what happens to it, but there’s nothing like waiting for a baby to come to make you realize how little control you actually have over things. I could take all the advice anyone ever offered for making labor progress, but that baby was going to come when he was ready and not a minute before.
Really, things did go pretty much as we had planned. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, it was a fairly unexceptional birth. Completely natural and excruciatingly long, but nothing out of the ordinary really.
As far as Roger and I were concerned though, it was the most amazing day of our lives. I didn’t know at the time (because you can’t know these things until after) how completely I would fall in love with that boy. And Roger fell just as hard.
I guess now that Judah’s so close to being a legal adult, it’s safe to let him know: he’s got his daddy completely wrapped around his finger. And me. There’s not much we wouldn’t do for that boy.
I’m not sure we could be any prouder of the man he’s becoming. He cares about people, he thinks before he speaks, he’s responsible. I would trust him with pretty much anything. (And I do. I send him off with my car, my kids, my credit cards, my pin number, my cash.) He doesn’t usually play the starring role in a social gathering, but every group is better when he’s in it. He does well in school and in any sport he decides to play. He has the best hair and the best laugh. He’s quiet, but he’s a leader. He’s solid, he has depth, and people respect him.
Basically, that day in the delivery room, if I would have written down everything I wanted that baby to be, every character trait and all the important things…. I would have exactly Judah.
He’s a lot better in real life than anything I could have dreamed up. I couldn’t have imagined the way his little boy brown eyes would sparkle when he was happy – they still do.
I wouldn’t have imagined the role he would play as the oldest sibling. I’ll always believe that his calm and steady nature has helped to temper some of the younger, more fiery personalities in this family.
I look forward to seeing what this boy does with the rest of his life. I’m excited to see him discover some of his dreams and then follow them – make them happen. With every year I get more and more curious about the girl he’s going to bring home to us – I know she’s going to be an incredible human being. I wonder where he’ll live, what kind of career he’s going to choose, if he’s going to be the one in the family who makes lots of money, and is he going to give my grandchildren weird names?
My hope is that he’ll find the place where God wants him to be. In my experience, that’s the single ingredient in the happiness recipe. Plant yourself where God wants you and the rest will be details. That’s assuming you believe, like me, that happiness is more than skin deep. It’s possible to be miserable – even for weeks at a time – but to still be aware of the happiness underneath it all.
At milestone moments like this one, I’m reminded of one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes:
“Notice how we are perpetually surprised at Time. (‘How time flies! Fancy John being grown-up and married! I can hardly believe it!’) In heavens name, why? Unless, indeed, there is something in us which is not temporal.”
In case you’re looking for proof that time flies… have a baby. Or steal a baby. Or just give a piece of your heart to somebody else’s baby. You’ll blink your eyes a couple of times, and that chunky infant will be sitting at the kitchen table, with a phone in his teenage hand, contemplating a plateful of chocolate chip scones. And probably asking, “When are we going to eat?”
Then remind yourself…. Well, don’t remind yourself of anything. Just think about that little darling who used to cuddle with you, and be sad for a minute. No harm done. The time you had with your baby was so short. It was beautiful and insane and you did things you regret – there were moments you forgot to savor and entire stages of life that you wished away – and you can’t go back and live it over again. But it was beautiful.
Be sad. Mourn the end of childhood. And then just keep on living life with that amazing young adult who calls you Mom.
I don’t know about you, but that’s what I’m doing this week.