Twelve years and 8 months ago I took a pregnancy test because I felt unusually tired. I knew that the test would be negative because I was still breastfeeding 7 ½ month old Tommy, and it probably wasn’t even possible. And because God knew we couldn’t handle another baby…
My pregnancy was great. Maybe it was because my body had just done it and was like “yeah, we got this”. However, I began to feel the pull of two children needing me. I vividly remember when my milk dried up and I had to stop nursing Tommy. I cried and Tommy cried night after night as I weaned him. The reality started to sink in that we had two babies now. I felt like I wasn’t enough. And we needed to do more…to be more.
Sam made his appearance three weeks early and entered the world in a hurry. My labor started around 4pm on October 5th, and by 11pm that night my contractions were getting harder. We waited as long as we could and finally drove to the hospital. It was in the middle of the night and my delivery went fast. Dr. Durecki ran into the delivery room with crazy hair and unbrushed teeth just in time to catch Sammy. I tell Sam that he was our most beautiful baby and it’s true. I don’t mean that to be rude to our other two, but Sam was a hunk of burnin’ love and had the smooshiest (yes – it’s a word!) cheeks. He was a ravenous eater and a great sleeper.
Until about 3 months later. The next few years are a blur now, but were probably the hardest years of my life. That same feeling that I had when I saw the two lines on the pregnancy test resurfaced. I’m not equipped for this. I feel helpless as his mother. We struggled to figure out why he was miserable and why we couldn’t take him anywhere and I prayed and journaled, “Dear Lord, why is he never content?” We had the ear tubes put in and back out and back in. I stopped eating dairy and whatever else it might be. We read books and got glared at in the grocery store. We desperately reached out to family and friends and anyone who could help. I started to research about Sensory Processing Disorder. I wanted to give it a label, but then I didn’t want to give him a label. I just wanted to be able to say to the lady at the grocery store “He has____ and that is why he is acting like this.” I struggled with feeling helpless.
Sammy was a spitfire. He was all gas, no brakes. He actually had a shirt that said that and since his mom forgot picture day, we have it documented. He craved adventure. He was a stinker and had a classic face as a kid. He would crinkle up his nose and get a glare in his eye. But he could never fool me. He was as sweet as he could be and his blue eyes could melt me almost as much as his sensitive heart. He was so hard to discipline. He would have us laughing every time. But he grew and he learned and he overcame so many of the struggles he had as a toddler. And I grew and learned as his mommy. I learned to be so thankful for the things that made him different.
When he was in Kindergarten, I was away at our WCC women’s retreat and got a call from Jonathan. The neighbor was turning the corner driving to work and didn’t see Sam. My son was run over by a car, but was able to come home with only a broken leg. I was completely undone and the thought of what could have happened haunted me for a long time. He slept in our bed since it was too hard to carry him up and down every night in his cast. He would wake up in the middle of the night and start to cry as he realized that he couldn’t walk. Then we would cry and comfort him. A few days later I watched Sam tell the neighbor, “I forgive you” as tears ran down my face. He taught me about forgiveness. He also taught me about determination. Jonathan and I watched out the window as his friends ran down the street and he followed about 15 steps behind on crutches with a cast up to his hip. It didn’t slow him down.
He has grown up unannounced. I have no idea how he got from 6 to 12 so fast. But now he is in between kid and man and I don’t even know what to do. I just keep making him bacon for breakfast.
October 6th is a day to celebrate. We celebrate Sam for who he is. God created him so uniquely and gifted him with strength and determination, sensitivity, compassion, intelligence and a great sense of humor. Our lives have been turned upside down since the day he was born, but confetti keeps sprinkling out! He has brought so much joy and laughter into our home!
It is a day for me to thank God for all of the ways He has revealed himself to me through Sam. From the sleepless nights when he was a baby and I would pray and rock him, to the toddler years when I would put him down for a nap and open my Bible in desperation to hear from God. From the fear of not being able to understand or help him, to the fear of losing him, to the fear of raising him well…God has always been there. I’ve been rehearsing this song for worship next week and declaring it as truth: “Never once did you leave us on our own. Never once did we ever walk alone. You are faithful, God, you are faithful.”
God’s plans are always greater than ours. I know He has great plans for Sam. He has already used him to teach me so much. God is always enough. He gives abundantly. He equips us and gives us strength. He is our rest. He is our helper. He is always with us. He is alive in the life of my Sammy and shines through him. I love his story and can’t wait to read the next chapter.
Happy Birthday to the best twelve year old in the whole world!