Imagining this world without you

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching the based-on-true-life movie, Philomena.  It was a sad story about one mother’s search for her lost son.  As an Irish teen mother in the ’50s, she was forced into a monastery where the nuns sold her toddler son to an American family.  Fifty years later, with the help of a journalist, she unravels the mystery of her son’s life, only to discover that she was 8 years too late – her son had already passed.  A tear jerk-er, for sure, Philomena was full of social injustices and cruelties, and bouts of religious questioning, particularly for those of the Catholic faith.

After the movie ended, I crawled into bed with The Man and Baby W (yes, at ten months he has yet to leave my bed) but sleep escaped me.  I felt a sudden sadness for this woman, Philomena.  I felt sadness for all mothers mentioned in the movie, in fact.  Imagine going through life without knowing your children – seeing them ripped from your arms and brought into those of a stranger for the keeping.  Think of the audacity of the nuns who allowed it – who profited from it!

So, as I lay holding Baby W in my arms, I tried to imagine what my life would be like without him or his brothers.  It was an almost impossible task, because after-all, they have been ever present in my life for 10 years!  But let’s work back.

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Without Baby W – just these past few days he has mastered the “dammi cinque” – Italian for “give me a high five”.  I hold my hand up, say, “dammi cinque” and he laughs as he raises his hand too.  Sometimes he gets too excited and he grabs my hand and brings it to his mouth to kiss it.  Mostly, that involves nuzzling his face in my hand and looking at me through my fingers.  I can see him smiling so big because he knows we are playing out little game.  He also knows, however, that if he follows through correctly and gives me a high five, that I will laugh and hug and kiss him because, to me, it is so amazing to see a little baby learn new tricks – even if it is a simple game of high five.  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

Without Baby D – he is my sweetheart.  Everyone loves Baby D, and I mean, everyone.  Anywhere we go, we are bound to find a little girl who recognizes him, and with a shy turn of the cheek (girls, you all know what move I am talking about) they whisper a quiet “hello” to him.  I have two choices, therefore: 1)I can lock him in his room until he is an adequate age to bring home a girl (say, 35?) or 2) I can teach him right.  I don’t want him to end up being that weird guy that cannot find a girlfriend because his mom won’t let go of him, so I must opt for the latter option.  So, the other day we were in the car driving from baseball practice and we were talking about etiquette.  Conversations such as these actually occur more often than you might think because boys are nasty, sloppy and gross – and I will do everything in my power to turn them into slightly less inappropriate young men.  I was explaining to Baby D that when he is older and decides to start dating there are certain rules he must follow: he must always offer to pick his date up, he must open the door for his date – all doors, he must offer to pay, and when his date offers to split, he should insist on paying, he should bring flowers, he should call soon after because the waiting game is for those who are afraid of taking risks…I told him all these things, and his simple response was, “I have to do all those things?! It sounds so…committed!” He is seven, for goodness sake.  Committed was not the word I was expecting him to use! But he is a hilarious little boy, with a sense of humor as sharp as his little brain, which is why I am now considering going back to option 1…  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

Without Baby G – oh, the list here is immense since he brought about so many – indeed most- of my baby firsts.  My fist pregnancy, my first childbirth (yowza, by the way), my first night as Santa, and Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy – so many firsts.  But this means, he is also the first to hit some of the sad milestones.  He will be turning 10 in exactly one week.  Every year I have thrown him a birthday party.  The theme changes yearly and every year I go a little further to make the party a bit more extravagant. Last year it was Godzilla and even the food was in theme from faux sushi rolls to nuclear limeade.  This, year, however, I have nothing to plan.  It was at Baby G’s request that we are not having a birthday party.  He said, “They are lame”.  I swear to you, a part of my heart withered away and died when I heard that.  He is too cool for school.  I don’t have my baby anymore – he has been replaced by a young boy who is itching to become a teen who is itching to become a man.  I am having to face this harsh reality that, as the years pass, he is becoming his own person – and, thankfully, I am helping to mold him.  But, without him, I would have never experienced that…

So why tell you this?  Any parent out there will come to realize this at some point or another:  our children impact our lives.  But it’s much deeper than that.  This just makes me realize what an impact each and every one of us has in this world.  My boys altered my life in a way that I cannot even begin to fathom.  But what about me? How much have I impacted their world – how much have I impacted yours?  My friends – even if I just spoke to you one single time, that one time is forever engraved in your memories.  Sure, you might not think about me all the time – you might never think of me again if we were to never cross paths – but for that one instant, even just that one – I meant something to you.

The same goes for you, too.  Think of the last time we spoke: did we exchange a laugh?  Or maybe, deep down we know that we don’t actually like each other but we both fake it so well (ah, yes, Facebook fans of mine – this shout out goes to you too!)  It is simply incredible to think about the impact we can have on people.

I urge you then, praise yourself – acknowledge your worth and bearing to me and to all others.  Acknowledge your children.  If you don’t have any, consider having some – they are kind of awesome.  If you haven’t seen Philomena, watch it.  The mother doesn’t have the chance to reunite with her son, but she learns that regardless of their distance, she impacted his life just the same and he was closer to home than she ever knew.  Life is just so mysteriously fantastic, but without you – well, I just couldn’t imagine it…

 

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