Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Triplets' Golden Birthday!!! 18 on the 18th!

The biggest boy had ripped the tube from his throat within hours of his birth. At 2 lbs. and 15 ounces, Benjamin was showing the world that he was the strong firstborn. He didn't want the tube, didn't want the machine with the purpose of helping him breathe. He was opinionated and would spend his entire stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit letting us know what he wanted. He plowed the road for me as a mother because what he wanted was me. Always. When his heart was racing and the nurse said I could not hold him -- he showed her by stabilizing when I simply touched his little bitty back. He didn't even think about stabilizing when the nurse touched him instead. He was shouting at me that he knew exactly who I was -- a first-time, never-done-this-before Mommy but HIS mommy.

The teeny tiniest baby of them all -- barely 2 lbs. was the namesake of my precious Daddy. I was eager to see if this little boy would live up to the great big honor we had bestowed upon him by naming him Mason. But in those first days, I just held him skin to skin willing, and begging, and praying, him to health. I can tell you that I was terrified this little piece of my Daddy would not survive those earliest days.

And the little girl baby -- all two and a half pounds of her -- would bat her long eyelashes, and push her hand over her eyes, as if to say, "You are completely disturbing my beauty sleep, but here, love on me if you must." Claire was so breathtaking lying in that isolette that even without the adorable bow her nurse made her, everyone KNEW she was the girl! And let me tell you that her every action screamed to the world that she would be running the show as soon as the trio broke out of the NICU! 

First Birthday x 3.

Second birthday x 3.

Tomorrow my trio turn 18. Actually, in a couple of hours, we will hit the 18 year mark....18 years since those bitty babies made me a Mommy.  We have been celebrating all week. I have an enormous love of birthdays and celebrating the birth of my amazing kiddos brings me such joy!

But this 18th birthday is a big deal, right? Claire keeps referring to her last days of childhood. And just now Mason joked that the next time I see him he will be a man.


Oh goodness, I need to sigh.

I have assumed for months -- ok, probably years -- that this day would make me sad. I imagined that I would be super emotional and anticipated a lot of tears.

But honestly, I love the character of these 18 year olds. I love the young adults I see emerging and the hopes and dreams they are cultivating. Oh, they are going to make the world a better place. And so I am not sad to celebrate 18 years of loving them, of watching them grow.

But still....

The triplets were on their third day of kindergarten when Mason got into our van crying crocodile tears. "I can't play with my friends on the playground because it is down a hill that I can't walk down," he wept.

I didn't even hesitate before I put the car in park, hugged that boy tight and assured him that I would FIX it. I marched right into the principal's office and offered to spend the year organizing, campaigning and raising money for an accessible playground! And thanks to a beautiful team of people, we built that playground before first grade started!

When school just flat out stopped working for us -- the teacher-student ratio was too much, the equipment needs not met, and the aide support for Benjamin unsustainable -- I told the kids I would do my best to FIX it. I pulled them out of school and we did this very hard, very awesome, very extreme thing of homeschooling for the next seven years.

When the doctors said surgery this summer for you, surgery next summer for you, surgery.....I worked to make the isolation bearable. I worked to entertain us all during the long long days of back-to-back emotional, painful surgery-recovering summers. I tried to FIX it.

Please hear my heart. I am not bragging. In truth, I have never FIXED a single thing in my life without  God stepping in and doing the heavy work. But I do recognize that my mode of operation as a mother has been to try to fix it -- to knock down the barriers, to build the ramps, to find the way into the apparently unaccessible building. And tonight, as I sit here pondering this monumental birthday, I can not help but wonder if my fixing days are done. Tomorrow, when we wake to three adults where my little bitty babies used to be, will I be past the fixing days? I mean, I am almost certain that they will still need me a little bit (oh please, still need me!) but I am equally certain that with the passage into adulthood comes a lot less needing of me, and more than that really, turning 18 might mean there will be a lot less that I am able to FIX.

I have not navigated this road before. So I really have no idea. But rest assured, Benjamin, Mason and Claire, I am here. I am always here. If you need me to scoop you up and take you for ice cream, you are never too old. If I need to hug away a hurt, my arms are waiting. If I need to knock down a barrier, I am standing by.

But I also trust you to knock down a lot of your own barriers; to plow roads for yourself and those coming behind you; to offer hugs and help to others in need. You are amazing adults and I am delighted to move from fixer to friend.

Can we have cake??

Happy birthday Benjamin, Mason and Claire (birth order, always always birth order)!!! I love you so!

Carol - The Blessings Counter