If Only I Would Have Known…
that even though his vocabulary is limited to “mama,” “baba,” “moo,” and “hi,” this little person would become my best friend in the whole world, and one of the few people I can share just about anything with. No one ever tells you that kind of thing.
I remember longing for him. I remember being so entirely overcome by my desire to be a mother; I remember the days when I would begin by calmly talking it through with God in my head and somehow ending up with my face buried in the carpet in the small sunny spot from the window of our back door in Pensacola crying hot tears and asking of Him in my loudest voice “Why not me? Why will you not make me a mother? Why is this prayer taking longer than I dreamed to be answered?” My heart still aches for that prior self, and even more so now for all those that I know are out there right now as I type this, sitting in their showers with their faces in their hands after yet another negative test, wondering if it will ever happen for them the way it so easily happens for some others.
I also distinctly remember one night out at the O-Club on base sitting next to a fellow military spouse friend who was pregnant with her first son, and confessing to her how lucky I thought she was – that if anything ever happened to her husband she would have this small version of him to love; how terrified I was at the realization that if Blake were gone, he would just be gone, with no trace left behind to still feel connected to him by looking into identical eyes.
With a deployment in our future, as it is with most military families, I am reminded of those moments. I was so incredibly thrilled when we found out Kaleb was a boy – somehow I had just sensed it. And here I am, with a literal mini-me of my husband smiling up at me from his crib when he just wakes up, everything I ever could have dreamed and so much more, with his daddy’s perfect blue eyes and one dimple, little sideways smile and round face. Honestly, if I hadn’t given birth to the child I’d wonder if there was a shred of me in him! I love every second of being his mama, from the messes we make trying to figure out finger foods to the noise a pot and wooden spoon can make (which is more than you would think!). And after admittedly taking the news of our orders in a mascara-running, ugly-cry fashion (you know what I mean – that gross snot-nosed blubbering type cry), I’m starting to realize that I’ve been blessed. I don’t have to go through this alone. I have a little friend who is overjoyed to see my face every morning, who likes to chit-chat with me over meals, who reaches out to me any time I walk by, who will sit out in the backyard with me in an inflatable dragon swimming pool not caring how I look in my bathing suit, who cuddles before bedtime and almost flat-out refuses to end a good bath. I’m not going to pour out a sappy line about how he is going to look to me to be “strong for both of us”, because the truth is, he isn’t even going to realize what’s going on. He doesn’t know there’s any need to be strong, or stoic, or brave. He just knows that I’m mom, and I’m good for a game of chase-the-dog-around-the-house or a quick batch of sweet potatoes (yum), and that we’re buds.
So, dear friends, I think what I’m trying to say is that the current circumstances, which are admittedly still hard to face sometimes, have truly opened my eyes to just how big of a gift I’ve been given in my son. That even at almost 9 months old we’re already buddies, something I hope I am able to foster and not hinder as he grows up. There are mornings when I happen to wake up a little too early and look over at the monitor beside the bed and almost feel a little bummed that he’s still sleeping because I’m just so eager to snatch him up and start our day.
Sometimes I see Kaleb as my little personal angel sent from God for me have a little piece of Him around when I need His presence most. When I look at my son I can still see all the good things in life, no matter what chaos is happening in the moment, or what awful news is on tv. Here is what I’ve found over the past few weeks, what I whole-heartedly believe: God has given us our children as tiny little extensions of Himself – by caring for them we are loving God, and in their love we also are receiving hugs and kisses from Him by proxy. How amazing is that?? God wants to be our friend; He wants us to cry out to Him in the hopeless times and he wants us to know how incredibly loved we are despite everything else going on around us. We can’t physically see Him, but we can see our children. And I hope that we are all able to see them as our friends, even when they’re too young to understand a word we’re saying, and realize that this relationship is a treasure in itself. Some days I wonder why no one ever told me about just how cool it was going to be building a story with my little boy – but then I realize it’s something that every mother should come to on their own, because it’s such a sweet feeling when you do.
Our Love, Allison and Kaleb