The Dude turns eleven. Huh?!

At this moment eleven years ago, I was wondering where the hell the man with the epidural was and how much longer I’d have to wait on him. I had been induced one mere hour earlier and the superwoman that I am, was done. I endured one more hour of pain, got my blessed, blessed medicine from a man I think I promised to name my baby after, and enjoyed the rest of my labor. Telling everyone I saw, repeatedly, that if illegal drugs felt THIS good, well, I certainly understand addiction now. Now that I was no longer in mind bending pain (yes, I fully admit I am a wuss) I had time to really ponder my current situation. Hmmmm, baby. Baaaaabeeeeeee. Of MINE. Not like a puppy, where I could make up some asthma lie after I realized how much work they took, peed all over and whined all night, and sheepishly and sorrowfully take it back to the adoption place I had gotten it. Nope. This was mine and I was wondering, “What the HELL had I done?” I was in no position to be a mom. I had only JUST graduated art school, and let me tell you, walking into an interview eight months pregnant? Not so much a selling point. We were poor. I was living with a man that while he could make me laugh all day long, was an expert at Nintendo and making up really good reasons that he could not make it into work that day, he was not so much with the bringing home the bacon thing.

We were poor. Pooooor. As in the day before Noah was born, I had gone to the pawn shop and sold every piece of jewelry I owned. The ring I got when I was thirteen from my parents for eighth grade graduation, the first ever ring a man gave me at seventeen (it was cheesy and said I love you, but I loved that little ring and what it meant), a gorgeous blue topaz ring my mom gave me when I road on a greyhound bus for 36 hours over sping break from NJ to Texas just to surprise them and i didn’t want to ask them for money to fly home. And a few others. The jewelry were my memories, they meant a lot. But my baby meant more. When the doctor told me she was inducing me the next day and my food cabinets were empty and I knew my parents were coming in the next day I would be damned if I would let them know how bad things were. In hindsight, I am sure they knew, but it was a pride thing. And so I willingly, and gladly sold what I had for my baby. I was a mom now and I would do anything, ANYTHING for my son. But the day before I just THOUGHT I would do anything for my baby. The day after he was here, in my arms? It is a feeling I can’t describe. I would walk through a scorching desert, eating icky bugs – like really gross ones too, and carrying a 100 lb load for my son. I would do anything and everything that would make his life better, easier, happier. No longer was I just me, I was mom. And MOM is powerful.

That night after eating almost a whole extra cheese new york style pizza that I craved for the last 3 months of pregnancy but couldn’t eat because of heartburn that I can only describe as battery acid being pourd up my throat from my stomach, I held my baby. Noah Grey. He was perfect. I changed his diaper and it was my first. I was never a babysitter. I would rather cut a lawn, clean a house, or for that matter hit my head repeatedly than entertain small children for money. I was terrified by being a mother, but awed at this little creature that was mine. I stared at him and watched him sleep all night long. I wouldn’t let the nurses take him until they insisted at close to 6 in the morning that I NEEDED sleep. I was just mesmerized. I fell in love, completley totally in love with this baby that day. And that love has only grown. Like I never could have imagined.

Noah just hit five feet tall this summer. That, is CRAZY. Craaaaaazeeee. He is as tall as my mom. And yes, i know that makes her short, but it makes my son TALL. Today I am taking him for his middle school orientation. People? How can my baby be going to middle school when it seems my middle school memories are still so fresh sitting right there in my brain? When i can remember the names of my friends, the names of the popular kids, the terrifying moment I realized they MADE US DO GYMNASTICS in gym class? This is just not possible. Has a time warp happened? Has some kind of worm hole been used here? That itty bitty baby that made me become a woman who will be damned if someone tells me I can’t do something, is eleven.

Noah, thank you for giving me the gift of motherhood. For giving me courage. for making me take risks even when I was terrified because it might make YOUR life better. I remember the day I brought a bunch of my little painted cigar boxes into a tiny art gallery. I was shaking like a leaf and I literally held you between me and the owner to deflect the pain of any disappointment. Your 10 month old chubby baby body clung to my body and YOU held ME up. The owner looked at your smile and chubby cheaks and said she would be delighted to carry my art and wanted all I could give her. I thought I could might pass out from joy and knew you were my good luck charm. I drove home singing to you and smiling and telling you all my hopes and dreams, promising you I would always take care of you and show you that the world is full of joy and I promised I would go after my dreams to prove to you it could be done. When I got home the phone was ringing. It was the gallery owner. She had already sold a box. It was the one painted with clouds and had the line, “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

Thank you Noah for making my world so very wonderful. I love you, I adore you.

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