My current work-out / running playlist is starting to become monotonous to me and, as of Monday, I am now running a leg of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Marathon Relay. Time to refresh my playlist. When I made my last playlist, with the goal to get me through the last days of winter, I came across a few songs that did not make the cut. This playlist is a combination of those runners-up (many of which have grown on me) and songs that helped me prepare for a race last fall (more on that below.)
A few months ago, a commercial ran that highlighted a man in the middle of a pursuit taking a call from his mom. As he is fighting off aggressors, conversation ensues about squirrels. The commercial concludes with a voiceover stating that moms call at the worst times. I laughed. I can identify.
Until last year, I fell into the I’m-too-cool-for-Valentine’s-Day camp. I mocked it as an over-commercialized holiday that drove over-crowded restaurants, over-priced flowers and over-blown gestures all to prove one’s love. I failed to understand that just because these acts did not resonate with me as love, they could be acts of love for others.
My oldest child has now celebrated three Valentine’s Days. For the first, I begrudgingly filled out his Valentine cards to be shared at his preschool. At my oldest’s second Valentine’s Day, my cold heart warmed.
Just shy of 10 years ago, I stood in my brother’s front yard. One block to the right was the house in which my father grew up. One block to the left was the church where I was baptized and the school I attended. The sun was just finding the horizon and the tears were streaming down my face.
It’s no wider than a string, no longer than a grain of rice. Its faint red color protrudes from his right nostril. No one else sees it. If they do, they do not notice it. I see it. When I see it, I take a deep a breath. I smile away the tears that threaten. He was born six weeks early. During labor, my doctor gently informed me that my delivery room experience would be different. There would be extra doctors and nurses. There would be special equipment in the room to help them deal with potential complications or health concerns. I would likely not be able to hold him. Whether because it was my first labor, the fact that my husband was in flight on his way to the hospital, or the kind, warm demeanor of my doctor as he delivered the information or simply that I had never experienced the love of your own child, I could not appreciate the gravity of his words.
He spent the first month of his life in the hospital – constantly monitored to ensure he was breathing and that his heart was beating. He would not eat. Or he was too young to know how – they said. Despite our efforts, the only option was the small tube running down his nose. “If not changed daily, it could leave a scar,” one nurse told us when we asked why it kept changing sides. We learned the truth of her words in the days before discharge.
Initially I was angry about the scar from his feeding tube. We would have a visual reminder of this experience for the rest of our lives. In our time there we held our screaming, crying four pound baby as he was poked, prodded and tested for chronic conditions that would explain his distended stomach and impact the rest of his life. We witnessed a mother and father as they were told that their baby was revived the night before, but that the episode would repeat and the child would not survive the next time. I did not want a visual reminder of this experience.
We left the hospital with our son. We know not all families have the same fortune. It’s a responsibility we do not take lightly. Slowly I began to embrace and love his scar. Like his life, it is a blessing. It drives me to live my days and stare down my fears. It nudges me everyday when I forget to live my days and stare down my fears. It reminds me of the urgency of life, its fleeting moments and fragile nature.
Starting a blog scared me. I dreamed of it. I dreamed of writing for a wider audience since I had my first diary. This dream stuck with me as I scribbled in my well-guarded notebooks in high school, bound journals in college, Moleskins as my career began and finally urgent typing on my electronic devices. For as long as I can remember as my thoughts circulate in my mind I try to determine how I would write those words to others. How I would describe the sight I am seeing and the sensations I am feeling. Every few years, I would mention my crazy and silly dream to write someday. Supportive friends would say, “you should!” And that was as far as it went. His line makes me realize that my fear of failure and being judged is precluding me from following my dreams. That realization coupled with the greater fear of looking back with regret for not doing this led me here. Welcome, thanks for reading and hope you are having a good day.