Wednesday, September 08, 2004

My Loss, His Gain...

Why, being only 5’2, would I marry –and procreate with- someone who is 6’4? That is probably what I was thinking as two nurses descended unmercifully on my stomach. I had been pushing for 3 ½ hours, Justice was lodged in the birth canal, the fetal monitors were blaring and they were trying to break his collar bone to get him loose…

Almost five hours later, I finally got to see him. He was the lone baby in the NICU, bruised and crying with a tiny little cast on his left arm. Born two weeks early, he was just shy of 9lbs. When the nurse finally placed him in my arms that first time –the entire nursery instantly faded away…all the tubes, monitors, bottles of formula that I had threatened them not to feed…and it was Justice and me, finally meeting face to face. A hot wave rushed through my entire body as I thought, “I have never loved anyone until this very moment…not my parents, my brothers and sister or my husband…”

The day we brought him home was so emotional... As I sat there watching his chest rise and fall I gave in to the tears that were bound to come –they came because we had so much trouble getting pregnant in the first place, they came because I had waited so long to meet this little man, they came because there could finally be relief after nine months of worry, and they came because they almost hadn’t let us bring him home that morning…Christmas morning 1998.

‘What’s wrong?’ the man asked.

‘What if he goes to college in California?’ I cried.

Irrational? Yes, but there is nothing rational about holding a little person that you had felt, talked to and worried about for nine months…but never saw, heard or touched.

Today that baby let go of my hand after a hard squeeze, said, “I love you Mom”, with tears brimming in his eyes –and walked toward independence. I stood there, seemingly frozen in time, as I watched him nervously make his way to the line forming in front of his new kindergarten teacher…Mrs. B. I fought to hold back the tears that would expose me as the novice mom as he turned back to give me an uneasy smile and to look for a reassuring one from me. I am not ready!—but I know he is. Yesterday he informed me that he would need a cell phone—in case he needed to call and tell me about bullies. This is his biggest fear. He is afraid that ‘bullies’ will beat him up because he can’t tie his shoes yet...

“You aren’t the kind of kid that gets bullied” I always reassure him. And it’s true –we all know that kid, and it’s not him. He is smart, confident, beautiful, empathetic and considerate …and now someone else gets to add their influence for three hours a day –five days a week…

Welcome to behavior modification for the ultimate control freak (that would be me) a.k.a KINDERGARTEN.

25 comments:

92Alpha said...

ALa, you've done it again! Thanks for the "private" look into your life and emotions.

Tom said...

It's relatively rare nowadays that a child isn't separated from mom [and I do mean only 'mom'] until kindergarten, given the number of kids stuck in day before they're even out of diapers. Way back when I was Justice's age, when nearly every kid in my South Philly neighborhood spent the first five years of his life joined at the hip to his stay at home mom, the first day of kindergarten was the most traumatizing event one could imagine. The scene outside St. Rita's on South Broad Street looked and sounded like something out of Sophie's Choice.

Justice's experience was less stressful, thank God. Sounds like you could have used a double scotch, though.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Long as he doesn't go to college in California.

*crosses fingers*

Tom said...

Cig:

TWD went to college in Calif ...

Oh.

justrose said...

God, I remember that night when you were in labor -- I woke up about a hundred times -- at 5 o'clock in the morning I thought no news is good news -- then your P called -- and said she had a tough time -- and then didn't that rock hanging out in your fun hospital room all day -- good times and merry Christmas! right -

I have never washed my hands so thoroughly as in that NICU -- I WANT some of those antiseptic filled sponges! I should've stolen some . ..

cheeky monkey said...

We have a very similar picture of our babe in the NICU. Never imagined she would be there, tubes and beeping monitors. It was a scary scary delivery. But there she was.
Still, the first night she ripped her IV tube out of her head, then her foot, then her hand. Repeat for five days, and the nurses are so exasperated they feel she must be strong enough to go home!
She came out a fighter-- thank god-- and hasn't looked back.

I always rub her little scar on her head to remind myself.

Justice, like my little one, is undoubtedly a fighter and while he looked back to see you at kindergarden, I'm sure he'll forget all about you soon (so sad!!) and run to be with his new buddies. Sigh. They grow fast.

Bigandmean said...

Ala71,
I've told my kids that there is nothing like the love a parent has for a child and they'll have to experience it before they can completely understand. Why, there's a chance you could even become a regular on blogs although you never would have given it a second thought if one of your own were not into blogging.

Your children will gradually pull away from you as they get older. They develope interests and friends of their own and become increasingly independant. It's just the natural order of things and the way it's supposed to be.

But it still grabs you by the throat the first time you have to say good-bye and pretend to be all brave about it. It reminds me of the famous scene in the movie Shane, where the little boy is chasing after the title character played by Allen Ladd and yelling at the top of his lungs, "come back, Shane". You want to yell, "never mind, I'll home school you"!

I think the real moment of truth for me was when I took Jen for her driver's license test. She drove off in her new little white car with a giant smile on her face and a state trooper beside her eyeing her every move. I stood there and watched her drive off and all those images of a little blond haired girl with pig tails came flooding back to me. Instead of being 16 years old and driving away, she was momentarily 2 or 3 and climbing into my lap, begging me to tell her another story about the adventures of six make-believe kittens that only she and I knew about.

About the time I announce to my 2 year old that the story is over and it's time to go to sleep, and she says, "Daddy I'm going to give you a big ole kiss", the 16 year old walks up and says "Dad, I passed. Can I drive home"?

Thank God she didn't go to college in California or marry a liberal.

leftyjones said...

Ah.....such touching stories and yet, even when while we smile about the little rugrats there is still room for a little liberal bashing.
Kinda makes me feel all tingly to wax poetic about love and still have some room for the venom to drip through.
:)
Here's to wishing that all of you have children that are as wonderful as mine and to wishing even harder that at 18 they stare you in the face and announce,

I'm going to college in California.

ALa said...

I think some took the California thing wrong...As I was only three days into my first kid --I wasn't thinking about politics. I was using California as a reference to distance...as in -what if our child moves all the way across the country one day. I don't know if it was my writing that failed to portray that -or- the assumption that I can't write without lib-bashing....LOL.

Kat said...

lefty, hon...sometimes, you lack a sense of humor.

Untwist your shorts a little and be amused. I'm sure you'd freak if your kid turned into a little Alex P keaton and started telling you about conservative finances and such. LOL

It's the nature of the beast. Sometimes, they turn out just like you and then, sometimes, they turn out just like you. Stubborn, hard headed and full of themselves. LOL

Kat said...

yeah, ala...Me thinks he doth protest too much. LOL

Kat said...

One other thing...

I now realize why you and lefty only dated for a short time. It's not your politics.

You guys are like brother and sister, sniping at each other and taking every other comment as a snipe, no matter how mundane. Kind of reminds me of me and my youngest brother, the moron.

I'll let you all decide who should play that part!

bwaahahahahahahaa!

~Jen~ said...

Aw heck Dad. Now you've got me crying at work again.

I didn't marry a lib but I did marry a yankee. Hopefully Mom will get over it one day. *giggle*

I miss that little white car.

leftyjones said...

Kat,
I haven't had the pleasure of arguing with you and for that matter, I hadn't opened a "kat" file in my Twit folder but do not fear......I am filling in your tab now.

Ok....whew....that's much better. This untwisted shorts thing is much more comfortable than the way I'd been wearing them before. Thanks for the help!

Now before you misunderstand me as you did earlier....I was having fun and joking and frankly, my jest was poked at Bigandmean's ending comment than anything else.

Thanks for the advice on the shorts though, I do appreciate that.

Bigandmean said...

Lefty,
Just a weak joke.....no venom intended. I actually like most liberals as much as I like conservatives. Jen was making a joke about yankees. We like them too, especially the one from New York that she married.

ALa said...

Kat:

You are right –an astute outside assessment...Lefty and I have ALWAYS argued like brother and sister -amazingly there are rarely ever hard feelings in the end. I guess that's a pattern you fall into when you meet someone at 13! I must admit that... 'He Started IT!' --I am usually so sweet and lady-like and he jabs and pokes and calls me names...and well, I have to defend my honor *blushing demurely*

~Jen~ said...

brother and sister...that kinda does makes sense.

Ala71 - I was home sick yesterday! Back at work today. Tried to call you back today and your voice mail is full. Popular lady. *grin*

Bigandmean said...

I was just wondering what the opinion of the guys down at tha Army War College would be about dropping your kids off at kindergarten the first day.

Kat said...

Ah...now I feel important. Lefty put me in his "twit" file. Was it the "brother/sister" comment or the "get a sense of humor" or strictly "untwist your shorts"?

Or, was it the part where I said you all could decide who gets the "moron" roll in your arguments?

Dude, you ARE in need of a sense of humor! LOL

Sorry, your original post did not come across as "funny". considering the other discussions that I've seen going on, I figured you were serious. Hard to hear the laughter in your writings when not accompanied by the requisite symbol (like :) or ;) or LOL). But, I'll definitely take your word for it and try to remember you're a funny guy in the future.

By the way, so glad you got your shorts out of a twist. I hear that is really painful for men. LOL

Kat said...

Ala...yeah, I know what you mean. My brothers were always starting things, too. Picking on me and then complaining to my parents when it looked like I was going to beat the crud out of them. LOL

Now that we're older, they still do the same thing. My mom is always asking me why I started in with my brother. Me? not ME! He started it.

I can see that lefty was definitely the antagonist in the relationship, just like all brothers. :D

leftyjones said...

Kat,

As a rule, I don't like to use symbols for the humor impaired...symbols like the aforementioned :), LOL, etc. but I have found them to be useful in blogworld as some people have a tough time getting it.

Which is why I DID use the friggin' :) in the comment above to avoid conversations like these altogether.

Please scroll back up. ( Symbol for up is ^) and notice the appropriate "emoticon" in the posting in question.

( filing additional paperwork in Kat's newly christened file)

:)

Kat said...

Oh my God! I got two entries in lefty's file. Gee...now I'm a celebrity.

But thanks for clearing up the humor marks. Completely understand. In my defense, I'm at work and doing quick scroll through's in between running some reports. Hard to get the "nuance" in some posts when you're reading quick. Guess as a twit, I just need it spelled out for me. Thanks for understanding. ;)

Bigandmean said...

Lefty,
We've been through so much together...and most of it was your fault.

leftyjones said...

Bigandmean,
Now THAT was laugh out loud funny! :)

~Jen~ said...

LOL!!!!!!