Good Enough Mother is feeling nostalgic this evening because little did I know when the last kid was snatched from my womb, how my life would change. Remember when you were little and you pissed off your mother? What would she say? “Just you wait, when you grow up you will have a kid just like you!” For me, that day was June 15th, with the birth of Cole Parham.
Outside of the shock that came when I thought I had given birth to a white baby (most children of color are very pale when they are born) the birth was pretty uneventful. A mandatory C-section, with drugs given early and often, ensured that. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what I was up against.
Actually my first inkling came in the hospital. Without going into too much detail as I am trying to preserve his modesty, the nurses told us we could go home after Cole peed. That’s right, they needed to see urine in a Pamper. That was at 7am. By 3:45pm he still hadn’t gone, even though he was drinking like a man on a weeklong hike across the Sahara.
At 4pm, he finally moistened a diaper, after he was good and ready, and off we went.
He had enormous eyes that literally took up a third of his face. We knew then, not much would get by him. He had a will made of iron, strong and unyielding. We knew then, he would not be taken advantage of. He had a soft side and loved to cuddle. We knew then someday he would make someone a good spouse. He had a favorite teddy bear, Night-nite bear, with which he was most gentle. We knew then he would be a good father. (By the way, you can read more about Night-nite bear’s untimely demise in Good Enough Mother, the Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting. Suffice it to say, it was not pretty. If you are ever driving down a stretch of Orlando road keep an eye out for him.)
There have been other memorable moments that made me question why on earth God would entrust ME with not just one but two kids. Like the time when I was at work, the babysitter took him to the doctor. The poor kid, in kindergarten, was unable to explain that he was having trouble breathing. By the time I pulled up into the emergency room parking lot, the kid had been diagnosed with asthma and was being admitted to the hospital.
Then there was the time he fell on the school playground, naturally while I was three thousand miles away. I thought nothing of it until the school nurse suggested I take him to the doctor and make sure he didn’t have a “buckle fracture.” I had never even heard of a buckle fracture. He had, you guessed it, a buckle fracture.
I write all this to say, I am doing the best that I can. I don’t have all the answers and there have been many times I just plain feel like a failure. Like this morning when I thought, ‘why didn’t I do something special for Cole at school for his birthday?’ You know, like make a button or put wrapping paper on his locker. Of course I asked this at 5:45 am and there was no time. So I did what all Good Enough Mothers do, I punted. See I took Casey to the doctor today and while there, we snagged four rubber gloves (don’t ask why but for some odd reason, Cole love’s those things) then I filled them with candy. When I dropped Casey off at school I snuck them into his locker. It wasn’t much but he had a huge smile when I picked him up from school today. Not a $360,000 Maybach, Diddy, but a nice gesture nonetheless.
A $10 store bought cake (oh I KNOW – you didn’t think I was going to bake, did you?) rounded out our low-key family celebration. We need to conserve our strength because his BIG blowout party is this weekend. Maybe I should have saved some of that sugary candy for myself?
But how do your kids’ birthdays make you feel? Happy, sad, nostalgic? Send on over your stories… we’d love to hear them…