When I carried my son for 9 months, little did I know that I would be literally carrying him for the rest of his life.
Those first 9 months of carrying my son were filled with such joy and anticipation. Finally, after 4 pregnancies lost to miscarriage, I was about to have that dream become a reality…that long awaited child to hold in my arms and never let go. And when he was born and the doctors said he was perfectly healthy, I held him in my arms while thinking to myself what an absolutely magical feeling it was to carry him up against my chest. Finally, my baby was here, healthy and beautiful. I could go from carrying him inside of my body to carrying him in my arms. I couldn’t wait to get home. And then, only a couple short weeks after, his condition was discovered and my world has never been the same.
Today, I still carry that precious newborn boy in my arms, although now it’s only out of necessity to move him from room to room or change from wheelchair to bed. Now, carrying him requires strength. Strength on all levels as he’s nearly as tall as I am…and as the disks in my lower back degenerate…and as his bones are fragile with osteoporosis. Strength of spirit as I remember what it was like to carry him as that newborn babe, staring into those blue eyes with wonder at what he would grow up to be. Strength of mind as I cannot allow those memories to take me away to a dark place, but instead must remain in the present as he is here, in my arms, for now.
When I carry my son, I can feel his arms try to come around me in a hug. He tries, at times…at times. I can’t carry him for too long, as he’s too heavy for me to carry too great of a distance. But when I do carry him, I can imagine how good it must feel for him to have that body contact with me, his mother, when most of his day is spent sitting confined in a wheelchair with straps and braces all designed to hold him safely in place since his body betrays him so cruelly. And so, before I set him down, we linger. I let his head snuggle up into my neck and then I put my cheek up against his and I whisper “I love you”…and he smiles with delight. The smile that says it all where for him no words are possible.
And then I set him down, ever so gently and so carefully…for he is my precious newborn babe…still.