Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I was twenty one, living with a boyfriend in Kentucky. And my period was late.

I did not have a doctor so the boyfriend drove me to the clinic where I took a test that came out positive. The nurse was very nice and offered me pamphlets regarding abortion. I was scared witless. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do but I for certain knew I was not going to do that.  Carrying the weight of the world in my belly I walked out of the clinic and gave my boyfriend the news. He said, “I will pay for you to fly home.”

Now THAT is a phone call I hope never to receive. “Mom? It’s me. I’m okay. But I’m pregnant and I have to come home.”

I won’t go into the angst of being a single pregnant woman. Nor the hardships of moving home under ‘not the best circumstance’ because this is a happy story about a tow headed blue eyed baby that, despite our rocky start I loved before he was even born.

He arrived on February 2, 1985 in a snowstorm. Already I was learning that kids change the plans you make. My plan was to have pain medication. The baby’s plan was to get into this world quick. Too quick for me to reap the benefits of narcotics.

The first thing I remember about that boy was the fact that he liked to sleep. The nurses kept flicking his feet to wake him up and we’d wipe him down with a cold wash cloth so we could feed him but he soon went back to sleep. Like all other babies  he did not sleep through the night for a couple of months. Like all first time parents I longed for the night that he did so that I could get a full eight hours of much needed sleep. Again, my plan versus how things really played out. The first time he slept through the night was a night that I didn’t sleep a wink because I kept getting up to put my finger under his nose to make sure he was still breathing.

There are a million billion ‘mommy blogs’ out there. How I wish I had been blogging back when my children were little.  I think what a great gift it will be for those kids to be able to get a true idea of what their days were like. I wish I had written letters to them on each birthday with a little synopsis of the year. All the cute things they did, all the trouble they got into. Something tangible that showed how much I loved being their mom.

As I sit here and try to summarize twenty nine years with this boy I realize it can’t be done. I realize there are so many little things and so many big things and so many in between things that I could never do justice to our story together. There are good things, bad things, funny things, sad things. Books we read, jokes we shared, arguments we had. Successes, failures.  One picture after another of what our lives together looked like flashes before my eyes and I find I cannot get them all down in writing for a mother’s day tribute to my first born.

This child has given me the three scariest moments of my life. His conception, my sobriety and watching him leave with the army recruiter. This child made me grow up. This child made me cry. This child made me laugh. This child had spiky hair, listened to heavy metal, brought the police to our house…more than once, shocked  himself with a dog collar…on purpose…and then asked to do it again. This boy put Elmer’s glue in his hair…again, on purpose…as a styling product. This boy wore camouflage before it was in style. This boy allowed me to know the vice principal at the middle school on a first name basis. This boy loved his cat, loved his Papa, loved his blanket.

This boy went to Iraq. This boy came home. He lived in his car. He painted polka dots on the dog. He faked his own death while babysitting for the girls; there was lots of blood. He’s afraid of aliens. He’s been abducted by aliens. He’s worried they’ll be back for him. He loves funny cat videos…only if they are horizontal. He “made me cool”. He made me crazy. He makes me crazy. He made me love like I never loved before. He made me proud.

I sometimes wish I could do so many things over with him. Go back to the little tow-headed boy days. I think, as all parents do, when they are all grown up you miss them. But, you can’t go back. Only forward. I can only let him know that I love being his mom. I loved spending my life with him. I love him. I am proud of him.

There’s a book that makes me cry every time I read it. It sums up being the mom to a boy perfectly. It’s called Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. If you need a gift for a new mom of a boy this is it. It repeats this line and I said it often to my little boy. I don’t say it out loud much these day but it still applies.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Now if only he would call me more often….






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