On Sunday, my second baby turns 8. He has his own ideas, and thoughts, and marches to his very own drummer.
That's him in my profile pic, approx. 6 years ago.
A few minutes ago, he walked up to me as I was talking to Adan, and said, "Mom, guess what?"
He did not even crack a grin. :D
The following was written in 2002 when he was about 18 months old.
The First Meeting
We sit in the dark watching bright images jump out at us from the television. He snuggles deep into the space created by my hip and the arm of the couch. His fleece sleeper is soft against my skin and I can smell the Johnson's shampoo from his bath. As I rub the stubbly hair of his shaved head, it's hard to remember how it all started. (Of Course I remember the very beginning- I mean our first meeting!)
We walked AJ to the neighbor's house and I climbed into the car. We had everything prepared- clothes for both of us, diapers and a book to read, and Lire (this was before the Euro) in the ashtray for the tolls. We drove up to the tollbooth.
We handed over the Lire and drove through Soave's medieval city walls. I remember peering through the thick February darkness searching for the tiny sign that signaled the alley to the hospital. In between breaths I waddled up the steps and onto the elevator. Nurses clad in white greeted us.
As if in a dream, I climbed up on the table and the nurse examined my progress. While under the electrodes, She asked a series of unknown and indistinguishable questions.
"Dove in tensione?"
"Dove eravate sopportate?"
"Avete altri bambini?"
"Quanto anni avete?"
I answered to the best of my abilities and with our contrived sign language, she communicated to me that I was not progressing. Exhausted and frustrated, I left the room and walked out to the covered bridge between the buildings. I looked out the wall of windows. The sight took my breath away- Soave castle- surrounded by medieval walls and towers, back lit, stood out to me in the darkness.
I stood on the bridge, admiring my amazing surroundings. A nurse hustled by carrying two bags, and running behind her was a very pregnant woman, her breath puffing out her cheeks in her struggle to keep up. A few minutes later, the nurse returned and escorted me to my room. My room contained 2 narrow beds with a window on the far wall. I opened the window and leaned out over the crown moldings. I could still see the beautiful view of the castle beyond the trees.
My husband and I lay down on the narrow beds and tried to sleep. Despite the excitement we drifted off to sleep to the sound of the frogs croaking in the stream below our window. A few hours later I awoke to severe pain in my abdomen. I knew it was finally time.
I woke Adan up and we again waddled down the long corridor covered with pictures of babies. Again I climbed up on the table and was examined. This time the nurse gave me an encouraging smile. She escorted me down the hallway and into a dark room.
Through the haze of pain I thought I had walked into a B-rated hospital horror movie. The room had green ceramic tile on the floor, walls and ceiling. The only light in the room shone down upon a reclined chair in the center of the room. Gleaming stainless steel legs and stir-ups rose from the seat. At least 4 people stood around in the room, dressed in green scrubs and facemasks, conversing in low Italian tones.
I climbed onto the chair. The light blinded my eyes. One of the green clad figures put up some handrails on the sides of my chair. Then, pain, all around me and in me, filling my ears and blinding my eyes. In the background I could hear many voices, shouting.
I tried to understand, but the pain in my ears kept the Italian words from being translated. Moments later it was over. One of the green clad figures handed me the prize, my son, and we had our first meeting. I allowed a nurse to take him and clean him and weigh him and do all those necessary trifles. He was returned to me and we walked to the recovery room.
I held him as he drifted off to sleep. Adan and I counted his fingers and toes. He was all there. Our Alexander David.
Sitting in the dark with him now, I sigh with love. I know this peaceful moment will not last. In five minutes, I will have to put him to bed and we will start another round of our battles. He will snuggle into his bed, and trick me into thinking he will go quietly, just like he has done since that February morning in Italy. No matter how much he fusses, and how much I complain about his fussing, in 20 years, I will think back with tears in my eyes, to the bedtime battles we used to have, just like I look back at our first meeting now.