The brief, WAY-too-short amount of time I got to spend with my second son before he died.
The springboard from which would come my determination to hold my children close. To make the most of each moment.
Those brief nine hours had a far-reaching effect that I don’t think I’ll ever be fully aware of (in both my own life, and that of others too, I’m sure). The impact of those few short hours showed up in all sorts of areas of my life, such as my absolute determination to breastfeed my third son, in spite of five bouts of mastitis in 8 weeks, intense pain & discomfort & details I won’t go into here! and numerous other challenges including my personal lactation consultant eventually suggesting that maybe I was one of the few that might not be able to feed my baby. Talk about a red flag to a bull! There is no way THAT was going to happen this time. I had fed my first son for only 1 week, after having all sorts of issues and a clinic nurse who handed me a packet of formula instead of the support and help I needed. And then I never got to feed my second son during his short nine hours, in spite of me saying I desperately wanted to. So NOTHING was going to stop me this time around. And it didn’t. 🙂
Later, at the end of a four year court case, those nine hours would be the impetus for us moving to live in a Christian Community to try to work through a few (well, maybe a lot of) faith issues we were struggling with. And this in turn affected our decision to live where we do today, which has affected who we spend our time with, who our closest friends are, and the friendships our children have formed.
Then in a roundabout way the impact of those 9 hours would also be part of the catalyst for bringing my children home from school; a decision that has enabled me to have many more moments with my children than I could possibly have had if they had been at school five days a week; a decision that has given me ….. time.
I still often get waylaid by the ordinary everyday pressures that are part of the stuff of life. Well, alright, I OFTEN get waylaid. But underneath it all is a current that sometimes becomes a raging force in my life. An undercurrent that reminds me of the frailty of human existence, the uncertainty of what tomorrow might hold, the undeniable reality that shit happens to us all at one time or another, and only we get to choose whether to allow it to become into a festering quagmire for us to wallow in, or a fertile meadow filled with unexpected wild flowers, bursting forth from the soil.
So you see, nine hours is more than just “nine hours”. One nine hour time period can have ripples that scatter far and wide. And in that nine hours there are many, many moments. Moments filled with choice and opportunity.
We can choose to hate, or to love.
To hold on to our pain and the desire that someone should “pay”, or to forgive.
To hold on to resentment, or let go and live freely.
To wallow in self pity, or take off that heavy sack and lift our face to the sun.
To look for the worst, or the best.
To be distracted by the stuff of life, or engage deeply with our loved ones.
To rush frantically, or to stop and smell the roses along the way.
To act mindlessly, or mindfully.
To disconnect, or connect.
To stress, or to breathe.
To seek power, or partnership.
To be boring, or to play.
To treat a child with harshness, or kindness.
To listen with one ear, or two.
To merely glance at our child, or to gaze with love into the window of their soul.
What I would give to have nine more hours with my second son, Cody! Even just one more moment where he opened his eyes and looked at me.
What about you? If you could only have nine more hours with your child, what would you do? How would you treat them? What would you most treasure?
What will you do with the next nine hours of your life?