That First Year’s a Doozie

Last night I sat on the couch next to my wife, with our son Benjamin in my lap. I had just come back from running errands to find him finally awake. He was excited to see his daddy, so we played and I treated him to a cherry-flavored sucker. I so enjoyed watching him eat the sucker, play with it in his fingers, share it with his mother, and laugh.

By the time he was finished, he needed a bath. I needed to have the stickiness scrubbed off of me with a baby wipe. So did my wife. So did the couch. So did the dog.

In spite of the mess, it was a happy moment: one of those ordinary moments in which we realize how blessed we are to all have one another. I am especially blessed to have Benjamin. It was one year ago today that he was born, but it seems like it has been but a few days ago.

I sat working at our kitchen table that afternoon, when Kristian came and said that, while it wasn’t an emergency, she didn’t feel well and might need to go get checked out at the hospital.I said, “Let me change clothes, then we’ll go.”

“Why do you need to change?” she asked.

“Because if Benjamin comes tonight, I don’t plan to meet my son for the first time dressed like this,” I joked.

He came that night.

Father and Son in the NICU

After a quick operation for mommy, he was here. Shortly after birth, he was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and I stayed with him as much as I could–except while checking on his mother. As she had just had surgery and needed to rest, she couldn’t come down to the NICU to see him as much as I could. The boys bonded that first week.

I remember being blown away by how incredible this little person was, that as soon as he was born, he already responded to his parents’ voices in ways he did not respond to others’, since we had talked to him in the womb.

In twelve months, he has grown in to a lovable, active, engaging little person, equipped with his mommy’s charm, his daddy’s natural curiosity, and a stubbornness inherited from other relatives who won’t be named here.

Many readers will already know that we lost two children before Benjamin, and before he was born we began to wonder if children were in our future at all. Knowing how dear children are, and how fleeting life can be, we are all the more grateful for the year that God has given us with Benjamin, and we pray that God will continue to bless him as he grows.