This will be our 23rd thanksgiving with our son. Steven was born November 27, Thanksgiving Day, 1986. My husband was stationed at Little Rock Air Force base in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Just as any mother will attest, it was a memorable day.
I was excited, anxious and happy all at the same time. Eventually my doctor, his tone calm but full of concern, announced I would need to have a cesarean section. Tears came to my eyes and he gently patted my knee. “I’m sorry” he said “I know this is not what you wanted.” He did not understand. How could he? He had not experienced the months prior to this event as I had. I had spent the summer and fall months dreaming of this little one. I had felt the tickle of its tumbling. My back ached with the additional weight, ever a reminder that I was not just me…I was a “we”. Each day I made choices I hoped would be best for the growing child whose little heart beat I heard at each doctor appointment. I could hardly wait to see my precious baby, this little stranger I had already come to love more than myself. No, those tears the doctor saw that day were not tears of disappointment; they were tears of joy and relief. Soon I would hold this baby in my arms.
Later that night, in the quiet of my hospital room, my son sleeping in his basinet, the enormity of it all overwhelmed me. Would I be a good mother? Was I ready for it all? What if I messed him up? Could I provide for him always? How would I protect him? Could I protect him? Did God really know what He was doing when He gifted us with this son? Would he be funny, athletic, curious, courageous, complicated or compliant? We were embarking on a journey together and I could not even imagine all the next few weeks would hold, let alone the next 23 years.
In 23 years my son has amazed, exhausted, entertained, surprised and mesmerized me. I watched as he discovered each phase… baby steps, walking, running, learning, caring, serving, and living. I have witnessed his contagious giggles bloom into deep heartfelt laughter. I have experienced the pain of seeing him suffer and not being able to take his hurt away. I have shared in his triumphs and staggered through his stumbling along with him. As most mothers, I have known what it’s like to have my heart ache one day and filled with pride the next. I marvel at how he has impacted my life and the life of others around him. He is just as precious to me today, with his towering height and size 11 feet, as he was when he fit in the crook of my arm.
I am thankful to a God who placed the hand of this little one in ours so many years ago. I thank God for His abundant grace. I am thankful for a loving family and caring friends. I am thankful for the glimpses of God seen in the lives of those He places in my life.
I am thankful for a son, whose birthday will forever remind me of the God who holds our future and the reason for all I am thankful for.