Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Name

4 years ago today, at 10:35 am, Aquaman changed my life forever by making me a mother.
It wasn't a smooth and predictible birth, but then, when does the first born ever come easily?
He didn't sleep 18 hours a day like I thought newborns did. And when he was awake, he was either sucking on me furiously or crying.
And I learned more about love in those first few days and months than I had learned in all the 27 years before them.
He didn't know me like I thought he would, and I didn't know him. I thought there would be this instant connection. This instant trust on his part. I still feel slightly ashamed and inadequate as a mother to admit that he did not know me and he did not trust me one bit. I will always remember the first time, nearly three weeks after his birth, that he heard my voice from across the room and stopped crying. That was when I finally knew that all the pacing up and down the halls and letting him suck on me until I wanted to scream and responding to him the first instant that he demonstrated a need were getting through to him.
Aquaman has taught me that love is about fighting past your own insecurities and your own selfish need to  have someone need you and make you feel good.
Even though I knew it in my head before, he taught me in a deep place in my heart where I'll never forget: that to give is far better than to receive. In a way, he began early to prepare me to let him go someday. To teach me that he is his own person, not someone that I and his father created, but someone created by God with his own special purpose.
Sure, he gets his muscles from his dad, and his way with words from his mom. He gets his energy and innate knowledge of painful pressure points from his dad and his need for very little sleep from his mom. But where does he get that uncanny confidence and lack of desire to conform? How on earth did he come with such red hair and blue eyes?
It didn't take us long to find a name for this little guy, tucked away inside my womb. For a while we just called him Aquaman. The perfect name for the submerged little character who seemed capable of breaking my ribs with his feet.
We searched the Bible, and we always stopped for some reason at the 12 tribes. It was when we found that one of them meant "happy", and was also the name of a surfer on the world tour at the time; that we knew we had found our match.
He came out of me with the broad chest of a surfer, and at age 4 has declared, because I think he believes it will hurt us deeply and further assert his independence; that he will "never surf. not ever. even when he is grown up."
Even though he can't seem to help but love the ocean. And be drawn to it in the magical way that his father and I both were.
I have always admired his spirit and determination. I imagine that I always will.
But if there's one word I'd use to describe these past 4 years, I know what it would be.
The feeling of walking to the beach with my heart pounding. Looking into my husband's eyes, as green as the ocean; and watching them fill up with tears when I told him he was going to be a dad. The rush of emotion that changed something in my brain forever the first time that my baby smiled at me. Looking at the angelic expression of sleep and wondering what was the matter with me that he had driven me so crazy that day. "He's cute...he's really really cute." as my son looked into the nursery basinette where his baby brother was sleeping.

Happy. That's the word I would use.

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