Fourteen years ago today I woke for the first time as a mother. I had given birth to a beautiful baby boy the day before. All of the hustle and bustle of labor and delivery and first time visits behind us, we settled in to our new life together.
I stared in his big blue eyes thinking..... I have no experience with caring for a baby, I didn't even babysit as a teenager. Yet, there was something instinctual that seemed to take over and I was sure there was plenty of love to make it all work out. My thoughts bounced from things like, "I can't really believe they let people like me take their babies home without more training." Seriously, I don't think I'd ever changed a diaper before this. And those first few diapers were no practice runs. (pardon the pun) To serious thoughts and a deep love and longing that said there was no one that would ever get between me and this child. It truly felt like instinct, powered by God's love of course.
My long time friend and colleague visited the first day and said, "You know, we've been talking at the office and we're not sure about this." She then looked at me holding my newborn baby and said, "Are you sure you know how to do this?" I was certain there was a betting poll going around the office with an over and under on how bad I'd screw this thing up. Maybe they're still watching and wagering. Some days I do too.
Oprah has her little section on "What I Know For Sure" Well, Miss O, here's something I know for sure and you don't.
There is absolutely nothing more life changing than having your first child. You can have 18 more after that and it will not be the same change in perspective, actions, & relationships..... no comparison.
A week after Dude was born I was going stir crazy and needed to get out of the house. I needed Target! I had to call another colleague who had just had a baby and ask her how to put that baby seat into my big red cart! I didn't even know how to do Target as a mother! Big changes people, big changes. Like Marie Osmond says, "after 3 it's just another baked potato in the oven for dinner".
Enough of the female icon drama quotes. This is supposed to be about Dude's birthday.
Dude's real name is Cameron Fleetwood Hession. He turned 14 yesterday. His middle name is my maiden name. (Cool ass name, huh? Especially when Fleetwood Mac was rockin' the charts when I was in junior high. Yes, MY nickname was Mac for all of 7th grade. *sigh*) As an only child, this was the best I could do at passing the family name down a little further on the chain. At the time someone said, "What a great lawyer name." Which is probably why we started calling him Dude as a toddler. We're not really the lawyer types. Other than the couple of times we've had to hire and pay them. But that's also for another post.
We did start calling him Dude as a toddler. He'd be scrambling away from me in the checkout line at the grocery and I'd shout, "Dude, get back over here." The stares from the little old ladies were a scream. I'm sure they were thinking, "she doesn't look all that redneck, why did she name her sweet little blue eyed boy Dude?" And why is she wearing a suit? She must be going to court for those drug possession charges.
My little Dude is growing long and lean and funny and talented. His empathy for others is astounding as a teenage boy. I'm proud of his courage and his thoughtfulness and his willingness to let me "experiment" with this parenting thing. I still look in his big blue eyes sometimes and remind myself that I really don't know what I'm doing but I'm leaning on those God given instincts and filling in with some great apologies. He responds with amazing forgiveness. Except for yesterday when he told his friend, in my presence, that I got so mad the other day I threw a spatula. I'm going to chalk that up to ADHD impulse of forgetting the difference of what is public domain and what should be like Vegas and what happens in our kitchen stays in our kitchen. I have no concerns that it was a malicious grudge and judgement of my parenting.
So today after the hoopla of paintball, cookie cakes, grandparents, and hours of video games with other stinky boys, I'm settling in to another year as Dude's mom. Happy and excited about his future.
Since I'm on a role with my famous women quotes in this post, I'll end with .........
Dude....... you is smart, you is kind, you is important.