Smiling faces. A single candle in a chocolate soufflé. My son looks around the table in the restaurant his uncle made reservations for this special day as we sing ‘Happy Birthday.’ He looks pleasantly amused, but a bit awkward. He does not like to be the center of attention and the setting of the five star restaurant is a little outside his comfort level.
It was such a different setting than it was ten years ago. It was a cold operating room where I longed to hear his first cries. It took a moment, but he weakly let the world know he arrived. He spent time in the NICU. It nearly broke my heart to know I couldn’t hold my baby whenever I wanted-the baby that I hoped for but had to wait years for until the day I could call myself a mother.
I remember a nurse coming in to my hospital room while I was crying about him being ill. She came close to me and said, “This is just one part of his story. In ten years his story will have so much more, and ten years after that, and ten after that and so on. Just remember that you are lucky to be a part his story and he is luck to part of yours. On his tenth birthday have a celebration about his life, and both of you eat whatever you want.” I smiled through tears back at her. It was a nice thought, however I couldn’t appreciate her words until years later.
Thanks to my son’s uncle, my son and I did have a celebration. Yes, it was his tenth birthday, but it was also the tenth anniversary of me being a mom. My son and I got to eat at an upscale restaurant. He was allowed to drink soda from a fancy glass. We ate what we wanted, filet mignon and chocolate soufflé. We enjoyed our time with family. It was just one part of our story, and I am ever so grateful everyday for our stories to be intertwined.