Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Decade Ago Today...

...my first born, long awaited child was born.

Matthew was a planned c-section because he was wedged head-first into my chest and refused to turn around on schedule (not much has changed!).  And when all nine pounds, seven ounces of him entered the world, eleven days early, he peed on the doctor who laughingly said that he was the size of a two-year-old.

I cannot imagine my life without the blessing of this child.  After waiting years for his entrance into the world, my heart and life were forever changed the morning I took that pregnancy test.  I fell to my knees in gratitude and thanked God for that tiny life, and then went to wake up the father of my baby.  Pregnancy, though difficult at times, was the first time in my life that I felt my body was doing what it was made for, and I loved being pregnant.  I would hear other women complain about this and that, and all I could think was what an utter miracle it was to be able to bear and birth this little being inside of me.

There is more than one way to become a mother, and I have been blessed to experience motherhood through adoption, too.  But the first time for me was Matthew, and it was an utter joy.

I first felt him kick when I was in my fourteenth week of pregnancy, while sitting at the table reading the newspaper.  Bump, bump, bump, bump, he went.  It was the most incredible feeling I'd ever had to that point.  And when I finally got to hold him in my arms, my heart began its journey towards healing from the years of infertility.

Matthew changed everything for Geoff and me.  I didn't want to go back to work full time after Matthew was born, which would have been necessary had we remained in the lower mainland of B.C. where we were living.  So when Matthew was fifteen months old, we left Vancouver and moved back to where my parents and sister lived so that we could learn reliance on one income, be close to family, and use the profits of our Vancouver house sale to our advantage in the real estate market.  When I did eventually go back to work as a mediator, it was very part time (a couple of mornings/week) so that I could spend my time with Matthew.

I still feel that way.   Geoff and I were in our tenth year of marriage when Matthew finally arrived, and were married seventeen years by the time our family was complete.  That's a really, really long time to long for family completion and I don't want to lose a precious second of it now that I finally have them. Despite difficult days, despite my own lack of patience and grace at times, despite how hard schooling at home can be, despite my longing sometimes for a little more freedom and space, despite my occasional wish for a professional life, the bottom line is that I want to be with my children.  I want to be the one to raise these precious beings brought into my life after many years of wanting and waiting for them.

Matthew is, as you know from having read my blog, a highly sensitive, philosophical child.  For the first five years of his life, his sensitivities extended to the physical.  We tinted car windows and bought sunglasses because he screamed with the light coming through windows; we removed clothing labels and bought seamless socks because he couldn't bear the feeling of things on his skin; we brought giant ear protectors with us wherever we went because he couldn't bear any loud or sudden noises and was easily alarmed; he was held when he was upset and was not 'ferberized;' we left countless events because he was so easily overstimulated.

I theorize that Matthew is as verbal as he is because of me.  :)  For the first year+ after we left Vancouver (and all of our very dear friends) I was so lonely and depressed that, while Geoff was working often-long hours, Matthew was really the only person I had to talk to.  And talk I did!  I talked his ear off, about anything and everything; the poor kid probably wished he could put those ear protectors on by himself!  By the time he was 18 months old, his vocabulary surpassed 300 words and he was readily stringing words together in sentence fragments!

And that speaks more to his philosophical nature than anything.  He has asked questions and thought big thoughts from the time he was just a wee one, and I have always loved hearing him probe at life in this way.

He's still a very sensitive child, though these days it's more emotional than it is physical; sometime after the age of five the physical manifestations began getting a little easier.  He's introverted, though not far over the line - he needs time by himself every day to re-energize himself, and can be daunted by large group of strangers.  He's not one to initiate conversations very often with people he doesn't know, but readily responds when others approach him and is most comfortable when people are familiar to him.  He's very gentle-hearted, though you might not guess that at first if you saw him with his siblings!  He's compassionate and doesn't like to see people hurt - physically or emotionally.  He's becoming a good friend to have, and he loves his friends deeply.  As he matures, he's developing resilience and adaptability, both of which are great developmental milestones.

He's a boy who is benefiting hugely from Geoff's and my efforts to parent him in a way that is developmental (rather than behavioural).  Consequences don't work for him...never have.  And so to parent him with 'good behaviour' as the outcome isn't our goal.

Matthew is thriving.  He is intelligent, curious, soft-hearted, willing to be a little different in order to stay true to his interests and opinions, and he loves both God and his mama!  I can hardly wait to see what the next decade brings in his life, and I am so glad to be sharing these days with him.

Happy Birthday, ten-year-old boy!!  You are so loved.


2 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Matthew!

    And Ruth, welcome to the joy and challenges of parenting a "double-digiter" club.

    Ellen

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