Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Hold My Heart

Friday my baby turned one. He's a toddler. And it's been really hard for me. Part of me is trying to come to terms with the fact that this is likely my last first birthday party, last first steps, last snaggly tooth grin. And part of me wants another baby so badly I can't stand it. There's just no right answer.

Monday he had surgery. Yes, it was minor. He had tubes placed in his ears. But it was surgery, all the same. He was under general anesthesia, and it was scary. The nurse gave him something she called "happy juice" to calm his nerves enough that he would go with a stranger into the OR. I needed some happy juice to calm my own nerves as I watched him go. He did fine, and we made it through the ordeal.

Back up to Saturday. We went to a birthday party at a kids' indoor play station--kind of like Chuck E. Cheese for the older crowd (including bowling, indoor go-carts, and laser tag). The boys were in heaven. We collected tickets for all the games we won, and we cashed them in for cheap prizes before leaving. The boys chose matching stuffed hearts. One said "Be" and the other said "mine." I assume they were leftovers from Valentine's Day, and I thought they were a pretty lame prize, but I really wanted to go and didn't particularly care what they chose. On the way out, Ei told me that he wanted me to have his little heart. It was really cold and I thanked him for the gift but asked if he could hold it until we got to the car where I could look at it while warming up. He said, "Okay, Mama. I'll hold your heart."

Oh, my precious Ei. You already hold my heart. You and your brothers have held my heart since before you even entered this world. As I sat in the doctor's conference room on Monday waiting to hear that the surgery was over and everything was okay, I replayed this moment. I wish I had thought to take the heart with me to hold as a tangible reminder of how precious my children are to me. But the truth is I didn't need anything tangible. I watched them take my baby Aaron as I stood there empty-handed and helpless, and I knew that my heart was with him.

Jackson, Ei, and Aaron--you hold my heart.

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