Thursday, January 12, 2006

Always go for the epidural

My son, Zach, is a Marine; he’s home on leave now, with his girlfriend, before shipping out to Iraq in February.

This time 21 years ago, I was pregnant with him. It felt like I was terminally pregnant. He was my first child, so I thought labor was going to be like you see on TV. You know, cute and manageable and Lamaze was going to get me through it.

They induced my labor on January 22, 1985. It was neither cute nor manageable, and Lamaze is bullshit. But before it got really bad, I found myself alone for a few minutes in my lovely birthing room. Just me and Zach.

I looked at my reflection in the mirror, at the roundness of my belly that wasn’t going to be round anymore, and I had a talk with that boy. (I knew he was a boy; no ultrasound needed.) I told him our lives were about to change and that we would never be so close again. It was going to be strange and different, but I loved him with everything in me. I apologized for not really knowing what I was doing, but promised I’d try my best to be a good mom. I warned him that I would screw up, because parents do, but he would understand someday. He pushed a foot out at me and I knew he understood. Either that or he was telling me to shut up.

13 – ½ hours later, I met him face to face. He didn’t look anything like I thought he would. He had a head full of dark hair - I thought he would be bald. He was kind of dark and intense and looked just like his dad. Every time they handed him to me in the hospital, it felt like Christmas. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.

I’ve lived up to my word. I haven’t really known what I was doing most of the time, I screw up more often than not, and I love him with everything in me. Of course, I can’t tell him that now - he’s a bad-ass Marine.

But last night I caught him.

We’ve both been keeping our game faces on because we know how to suck it up and do what needs to be done. We know it’s going to be hard, but it’ll go by fast. We don’t need to say it. But last night, I grabbed him and gave him a hug and told him I loved him. For a big second, it was just me and Zach.

And then I let him go.

1 Comments:

Blogger danielle said...

cas... this was so sweet... don't be scared to tellzach that you love him... we all do... don't try to be tough all the time. be emotional, like all women are supposed to be. it's ok... we can get through this together.

11:58 AM  

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