Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Caleb!

Today is one of those days that I clearly told myself would not happen and, if indeed it did happen, it wouldn't be emotional for me.

Today is Caleb's first birthday.

It's a little hard to put into words, really, but the realization that it's been a year since this little guy came into our family and drastically changed so much of what I thought I knew...well, it makes me a wee bit emotional! It took me so long to fully connect, to engage with him, that it feels like a shock that he could seriously be one year old already. With my first two, it didn't hit me this way because I had connected with them from the moment they were born--and really, before that. I was expecting them, I was anticipating their addition to our family. The moment their scrunched up faces were placed on my chest, I was sold. I was taken.

I hate to admit it, but Caleb was different. To begin with, he wasn't placed on my chest. Ever. At least not in the same way. The only touch at all that he felt from me for the first twelve hours was a hurried, shallow peck on his miniature cheek. And I was terrified to do even that. I held such an ocean of guilt for not being able to keep him inside longer where maybe he would've been safer. And then I know that maybe he wouldn't have been. Either way, it felt nearly impossible to fully enjoy his arrival.

And then it just went downhill from there. But I believe God has healed me emotionally as well as physically, and today he is purely a delight. I look at him and can't believe I was ever doubtful of this! I've mentioned before that I'm normally one of these who is skeptical of some illnesses such as postpartum depression, etc. The past year has certainly changed my mind on this since it was brought directly to my front door. In fact, it was the house guest who didn't leave for months on end.

Now I get it. It's real. It's crippling and equally dangerous for every family member involved. I so deeply regret the strain it put on my husband, the confusion and tension I know it added to Keagan and Kate. But I know they are resilient and young, so they'll likely not carry those moments with them into the future. I pray that our future only becomes brighter as we continue rebuilding and strengthening our family. It's so good to be back, and my husband often looks at me and says the same: "It's so nice to have you back."

I know there are some great husbands out there, but no one will truly know just how remarkable mine is like I do because he took on so much more of a load than I can even share here. I was digging through my scrapping box the other day and I found the stapled together sign-in sheets of Caleb's NICU stay. I didn't count the entries of his name, but believe me--there are a LOT. He was there every moment he could be.

So today we have this toothy little grin-ball to dote over and say, "Happy Birthday" to. And my heart is happy in the mix. The tears are sown from seeds of joy--not just sadness--that he's growing up! There's such joy that we get to have his first birthday, that God kept him safe and brought him home to us!

So, Happy Birthday, Caleb! What a precious joy your presence is in our family! Now if we can just get you to stop sounding like a pterodactyl with your LOUD screeching, squawking, ear-piercing screams. Ahem...We love you anyway, of course!
Peace of Christ to you,

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