Five years ago today, I was in a hospital bed with no real intention of ever getting out. I was in so much pain that I could not conceive of the immeasurable task that lay before me. Five years ago today, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy via C-section in a very scary situation. I couldn’t imagine that it would ever be harder to parent than in that moment. Forget about learning to change diapers and breastfeed, I couldn’t even walk. How on earth was I going to care for this new human when I literally could not care for myself? Well, we made it, but there’s a reason why.
Luckily, Harrison and I had the love and support of Justin who nursed me back to health and nursed Harrison as well. Just kidding. He’s good but he’s not THAT good. (He did, however, go out and buy me a breast pump so that I could try in vain to breastfeed, and although that didn’t work out, we made a go at it.) We made it through those first several months by the grace of God. Even with the two of us giving our best to this tiny person, we still couldn’t believe what we had gotten ourselves into.
New moms everywhere ask of veteran moms, “How do you do it?” and of course the answers vary greatly. Most honestly one might answer that you have no choice but to do it and hope you end up still standing by the time your kids learn to stand. For me, that was part of it. But the bigger part was the people in our lives. In the past five years, Harrison has had the love and support of three sets of grandparents, two aunties, and an uncle. He has two step aunties, and two step uncles. He has a great aunt, two great grandmothers, and a great grandfather. With each one of these people, Harrison has formed a special bond because each person has opened his or her heart to him. They’ve let him in. They have inside jokes with him, he knows where they hide the cookies, and he knows that when he’s alone with that special person, there is adventure and treats abound. But I can say with certainty, that if the treats were gone, if the adventures fizzled, he’d still crawl into the lap of each family member and offer a snuggle because he knows that is his safe place. That is where love is.
There are friends we’ve known since his birth, and ones we’ve met along the way. He goes to an incredible school where his teacher extracted his love of learning and planted Miracle Grow in his brain. Because she gave him a safe place to learn and explore, he has had great success in the classroom. Harrison also has the best daycare provider I could have ever imagined for my babies. Despite his incredibly emotional tendencies, she opens the door to fun for him, and encourages him to let loose a bit.
The countless playdates with mom friends who became just friends who happened to be moms showed me that I was not alone, that my kid is normal (sort of), and that we all have so much in common, all kept me grounded. They still do, as these friendships continue to form and grow. The children with whom my boy interacts give him love and patience and kindness and friendship. For that I could not be more grateful.
Everywhere I turn, there are these amazing people with whom I have shared my child’s life and who have helped him grow. I cannot believe that FIVE is here, but my heart is full with all of the love around us, that just wouldn’t have been without our boy. And I couldn’t imagine a better life for my child, so thank all of you for making Harrison’s life complete.