I went into labor on my due date – a first for me, as my first two wanted to just stay in the womb. Once I had contacted the troops (that would be the army of women in my family who just love to help welcome a new member into the world) and then convinced them that I really was in labor, since we were heading into April Fool’s Day, we grabbed our packed bags and headed to the hospital to meet our second daughter. My contractions were strong, but irregular. My options were to head home and wait for them to synchronize – or stay and walk the hospital halls and get them to fall into a pattern. I opted for the latter and, accompanied by a literal herd of excited and protective women, got to steppin’!
Upon moving from Labor and Delivery, through several other maze-like hallways, and down to the cafeteria area – my mood changed from anxious to somber. Not because of the excruciating pain (you other mamas know what I’m talking about)…but because I saw her. Her. Another mother. She was also surrounded by her own herd of protective people – some family, some friends. She was also waiting on her child…but not for his entrance into the world. I recognized her from the news – and my youngest sister went to school with her son. Her child…she wasn’t waiting to welcome him. She was waiting to let him go. My heart dropped when I saw her…and it began to beat rapidly when I realized that she had also seen me.
It was such a painfully poetic moment – I felt it was for her as well, as our eyes locked for just the mere moment that our lives were destined to intersect. Destined…like my Destiny. The little life in my womb. There I was, robust with new life and for just that moment I was so tragically aware of how my blessing must have just scratched out the heart of this other mother. We were both preparing – her, to let her child go to home to God and me, about to recieve my child from Him.
And so, over the span of just a few hours…we both did so. This other mother let her child, who had been attacked at a house party and was only clinging to life through the machinery that was keeping his body working…she let him go, she bore down through the worst emotional pain I can imagine and she said a final goodbye. I bore down through some of the worst physical pain imaginable, however, and I brought my child into the world…I cried through sweat and fatigue and said my first hello.
I will never forget that experience. I have given birth five times…but it was with my middle child that I was the most aware of the gift of life. Life. So precious. Like a newborn baby being held in the arms of loving parents. Life. So fragile. Like a teenage boy being taken off of life support and welcomed into the loving arms of his Heavenly Father. Life. A precious and fragile gift.
She is fourteen now. He has been gone fourteen years now. I wonder if they met each other as their souls crossed, in different directions. That’s how I’ve always imagined it anyway.
She is lovely, funny, witty, and beautiful on the inside and out. I am so proud of her. I hope I never take a day of her life for granted. Thank You, Father, for the gift of her. I pray You keep her safe…always.
Happy fourteenth birthday, my Angel. I love you.