I can’t remember watching the clock this much since the year Ryley turned one. It’s been strange.
Last night, we took Ryley out to dinner, just our family of 5. It’s become kind of a tradition in the past couple of years. This morning, Ryley was in our room at 4am asking if it was his birthday yet. My mind said yes, but my heart said “no, not until 2:29pm”. It’s been a VERY busy day. We had a soccer game at 8am (Ryley scored two goals) and ballet at 9 for Grace, then spent the next four hours running frantically to get ready for our Pirate Party.
I seriously do not remember EVER watching the clock this much, at least not since Ryley’s first birthday. Yesterday and today have been all about “this time six years ago…..”. It’s not been an easy day; at least not as easy as the past four birthdays have been. They have been days of nothing but celebration. Today was a day of remembering, as well as celebrating. As Gracie and I came home this morning, we passed by the local high school. The school has one of those electronic signs out front which posts the scores of recent games, future events, time/date, and such. It just happened that as we passed in front of the school, the sign posted the date, 9/23/2006. I almost came to a complete stop in the middle of the road, and I started to cry. Now, I am not one of those really emotional people. I don’t normally cry at the drop of the hat. But I do cry over nearly anything to do with prematurity, and my friends’ babies. I cried. I couldn’t stop that huge lump from forming in my throat, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. My baby is healthy. My baby is six. My baby is well beyond his 14-week premature arrival and 93 day NICU stay. He has “caught up”. But today, that clock was not my friend. That clock was a constant reminder of everything that happened on this day six years ago. Normally, I can ignore that clock on Ryley’s day and just rejoice in his life. Today, I was really reminded of his start, and of how I was feeling and what I was thinking on that day six years ago. SIX YEARS!!!!!!!!
I wish you the happiest of birthdays, my son. You have overcome so many obstacles. You have proven so many statistics wrong. You challenge me everyday, and I love you more everyday. Six years ago, I was terrified and jubilant. I had no idea what to feel. Six years ago at 6:40pm, I had seen you for the first time (and the last time I would see you for five days), and said goodbye for the first time as you were transported to your first home. Six years ago, you were fighting. Six years ago, I was being introduced to the pump that would become my “friend” for the next three months. Six years ago, you were more than just the unknown being in my tummy that kicked me every once in awhile……you were the “feisty fighter” that had found his way into the world so early. Six years ago, you turned our lives upside down.