The day my oldest son was born, wasn’t actually a day at all; it was night time. He was born at 6:18 pm. He weighed 6 pounds and 8 ounces and was 20 inches long. The first several days of his life taught me a lifetime of lessons. He was a NICU baby, and I was a NICU mom. NICU days seem like weeks, sometimes months. Regardless, while in there, I had the opportunity to learn several things: life lessons, so to speak.
I learned patience. Patiently waiting on doctors to answer questions was the worst. I was on their time. He was my son, but there were a dozen other babies in NICU and each needed their own time with the doctors. I patiently pumped every drop of colostrum I could manage and prayed it was enough to help build his little immune system. I knew he need it, but this was not how I thought he would be getting it-through a tube. I was so young, barely 20. I had no idea what was happening, but I knew I loved him and wanted to protect him more than anything else in this world.
I learned selflessness. I would like to think that when you become a parent, this comes naturally. However, I’ve seen too many children left with parents who were every bit of selfish. I didn’t need long to learn how to put my son’s needs a head of my own. As soon as he turned blue, I handed him to the nurse and told them to do whatever they needed to; just save him. I didn’t care what happened after that, as long as he was alive. They discharged me from the hospital without my son. I’ve never cried so hard. I just wanted to stay and take care of him. I couldn’t, so I did the next best thing: booked a hotel down the road and stayed in the NICU every hour I could. Only leaving for shift change and new admits. When I was finally able to bring him home, I was told to sleep him in his own bed, flat on his back (which is the correct way to prevent SIDS), but I didn’t listen. He wanted to sleep on me, so I let him. He did that for the next 4 years.
I learned unconditional love. I’ve always heard a mother’s love is as close as you can get to the love of Jesus. I understand that now. Seeing my son born, my son, holding him, giving him life….there are no words to describe that type of love. The minute he opened his eyes (around day 4 of NICU), he looked at me, and I knew I would always protect this little life given to me.
Today he turns 12. Adolescence is starting; he is discovering new thing each day about himself, his past, his future. He’s as tall as I am now, and bless him, looks juts like me. I have fought to protect him his whole life. I will continue to do so, but now, I see that he is learning to fight for himself. He stands up for what is right, and he fervently protects his mommy. He looks to his daddy for advice on how to be a man and to me for what to expect from a woman. I hope I don’t let him down. He’s watching me to learn how to be an adult, and I’m watching him to learn how to be a better person. I can’t wait to see the man he turns into.