Today is our youngest son, Jackson’s, sixth birthday. For years, I’ve considered my adult life to be “before Jackson” and “after Jackson.” His birth was a considerable landmark in my life and literally rocked my world. I became unexpectedly pregnant at 40. My husband and I had two sons (10 and 9) already that seemed to max our parenting abilities. Adding a 3rd child seemed overwhelming. But, we embraced this little blessing and limped through the pregnancy. Luckily, I’ve always enjoyed being pregnant which made it a bit easier. There were two scares early on and extreme tiredness but overall a beautiful time.
The day before induction, my mother had what we think was a minor heart attack. I spent the day at the hospital making sure she was ok and getting the medical tests necessary to ensure her continued good health and well being. Selfishly, I knew I needed her to stick around for a while, too. This medical crisis brought my twin sister from Georgia to care for my mom. Attending Jackson’s birth, was a welcomed consequence of my mom’s situation.
During the induction, my sister came into my hospital room. There was tremendous fear that I was not going to make it through child birth. At 41 (or any age), the risk factors are extremely high. My sister had married recently and did not, yet, have children of her own. I told her, “Cherie, if I do not make it, Jackson is yours. Please take him.”
I knew. I knew my husband would not be able to raise him. Deep down. I just knew. It was the first admission to myself that something was irreversibly wrong with my husband.
And so, today, I will choose to live through the eyes of my 6 year old. His innocence. His amazing gift opening abilities to make all feel special about what they selected for him. His joy over the ice cream cake that he picked out for himself. His sweet early morning snuggles and upside down birthday hug before school.
Because, any other alternative is just too darn hard.