Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Case of You

I remember that time you told me you said
"Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet

I  remember when my children were first born - being crazy intoxicated by their sweet newborn scent- not being able to get enough of them.

My NICU baby- Almost 19 years later,
and I could still drink a case of you!
Tiny Dancer being Tiny Dancer wouldn't let me put her down. She demanded to be held, carried and catered to from day one (not much has changed) Of course the three of us, since we had all waited on her for so long, were happy to oblige her every whim. In the early months, dad slept on the couch, endured back pain and practically got bedsores from non-movement while all the while TD slept peacefully on his chest.  The Boy Child held her in his lap while watching cartoons so I could get dinner on the table. I invested in a baby hammock and learned to do everything from dishes to sweeping with a baby tied to my hip.

The Boy was different. He didn't demand to be held. He was quite content to play with his hands at four in the morning and then fall back asleep until a more reasonable hour with no assistance from me, but he also spent 17 days in the "grower and feeder" section of the NICU.

Being a young mother I was petrified, even as all the doctors and nurses kept telling me he would be just fine once he learned to take a bottle, which of course he ultimately did and then 16 years later attempted to eat me out of house and home. Until that time, however, there was absolutely nothing I could do for him. I couldn't even feed him - unless you count holding a bottle while it delivers formula through a tube stuck up his nose down to his stomach, feeding, which I didn't. So I held him, wrapped up in my arms like a gift, and I rocked him. And I sang to him. I sang him country songs from the radio, hymns I learned in church and Joni Mitchell songs - sending each song up as a prayer - and then I held, sang and rocked some more.

The nurses encouraged me to go home and sleep, but every time  I left I was sure he was feeling frightened, alone and abandoned, and since there was absolutely nothing else I could do for him, I stayed. What nobody except Joni Mitchell seemed to understand was, "I could drink a case of you-and still be on my feet."

Almost nineteen years have passed and last week I had the amazing privilege of visiting this fully grown, amazing MAN - who I am proud to call "son" at college. As he sat across from me and gushed about college life, new found friends and new found freedom Joni's words floated between us, "I could drink a case of you..." when you were a newborn; when you were a precocious four year old; and yes, even when I wasn't sure either one of us was going to make it out of those teenage years alive- "and still be on my feet."  That will never ever change, and as he patted my back and whispered "I know Momma" when I burst into tears at the sight of him and sobbed, "I missed you soooo much" I know he gets it and I'm thankful for him letting me drink a case of him.  I love you, Son, and I couldn't be prouder!

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