Alexander & Austen,
This is probably one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever had to write as your Mom. Not because it makes me sad, but it does make me sorrowful. Yes, sad and sorrowful mean two different things in my mind.
Sad means emotionally broken or beaten…like when you have your heart broken for the very first time, or when you don’t make the swim team, but your best friend does.
Sorrowful means ill tempered feelings or unease within your spirit. That’s me. On the eve of your 13th birthday.
13 short years ago your dad and I welcomed the two of you into this world 10 weeks too early. Alex came first, his tiny 3lb. 7oz. frame absolutely perfect as he took his first breath at 10:49am. Austen, you followed ten minutes later, feet first, weighing in at a whopping 3lb. 9oz., but the most frail out of the two of you.
Mom was exhausted after you arrived. I had been in the hospital for an entire week with preterm labor before you came. But despite the doctor’s ill wishes, you chose to make your debut even when we weren’t ready for to.
The first few hours of your life, Austen, were critical. Although I had fallen asleep a half hour after your birth because my body wouldn’t let me stay awake any longer, your Dad and Nena and Pop waited at the NICU nursery window for hours waiting for an update about you. Things were kind of bleak there for a while, to be honest. Later in the day, they transported you to a bigger hospital with a bigger NICU unit. You needed to be somewhere you could be watched over a little closer. That meant leaving your big brother Alex behind. We didn’t like that at all.
A week later, Dad and I had Alex moved to be with you. We thought it was pretty important to have you both together. For heaven’s sake, you had spent six months together in my womb! We knew you shouldn’t be apart if you didn’t have to be.
Alex, you were a champ from the very beginning. You were breathing on your own from the start, unlike your little brother. When you were about 6 weeks old, you developed an intestinal disease called NEC. It happens to preemies, especially little boys. You were gravely ill. Dad and I were told you had a very small chance of survival. Instead of panicking though, we prayed. God had brought you this far, we knew He wouldn’t let you slip away. Not now. After a long battle, you won, not to our surprise of course. Although Austen came home about twenty days before you did, you won the hearts of the NICU staff with your fighting spirit. That same spirit is alive and well in you today.
Fast forward…your little brother Adison fell into our arms almost four years after your birth. I had two toddlers and a newborn. At times, I wondered what I was thinking. But then I realized it wasn’t my doing, it was His doing. God gave Dad and I the three of you. We simply couldn’t ask for more. Ever.
I have watched your heart break when your very best friend passed away in 2010 from Leukemia. But I still see his presence in pieces of you. The three of you were only 15 days apart in age. It was destiny to know one another, love one another, and share your early childhood with one another. Although he isn’t here to celebrate the teenage milestone with the two of you, I know he’s here in spirit. Andrew was the triplet you never had…blood brothers for life.
I have watched you walk out of public school and into the realms of homeschool. What a difference this had made in your lives. In my life. Not just academically, but having you home everyday is pretty cool, ya know. I know I may get on your nerves sometimes when I have to make you refocus on the subject at hand, and sometimes yes, you get on my nerves too when I have to make you refocus. But that’s what kids and parents do, right? But I can honestly say I don’t want you to go back to public school, because I’d miss you. A lot. When people ask me, “Don’t you miss having time to yourself?” I have always smiled and said, “Never.” And I never will.
Now here we are. Today. I remember the way I felt. My labor had started right about now. Back labor. It hurts. More than I could ever tell you. But the result left your Dad and I in awe. Scared yes, but in awe.
You still give us both that feeling today. In awe. Of who you were, who you are, and what you’ll eventually become. That’s pretty special. And it moves mountains in my heart and in my mind to know that you’re mine. For a lifetime and then some.
I feel pretty honored to be a mom. Your mom. Don’t you ever forget it.
Happy Birthday, Alex and Austen! You have made me so proud, and you continue to do so.
Love you more than Soy Chai Tea Lattes, books, Pandora, Evanescence, Converse, H & M…and more. To put it bluntly, I love you to the moon and back a million and one times over. That’s a lot. And I mean it.