Ah, my boy.
Now we can release that breath we were holding. Now I can shed a tear or two as I reflect upon the 13-year journey that has brought us here, knowing that the Lord has carried us all the way.
Your due date was very close to Julia’s, but you ended up being two weeks late. Tax day! Uncle Sam would be a nickname that stuck. When the nurse lay you on the baby table, you were turned with your back to us. What was that spot on your back? It looked like a nipple, but in the wrong place. Your dad and I both knew what a mark like that meant, but already we felt hope like a warm blanket-
You were moving. Everything. And I think you even peed on the table. What joyful, ordinary things to see in this extraordinary boy!
Eight weeks later, you had spinal surgery to repair a lipomyelomeningocele, a mild form of spina bifida. Even then, I felt the weight of how blessed we were- there were other children in this hospital dealing with much, MUCH worse maladies than yours. Still, it gave peace to our minds to know we could give you the best opportunity at an active future- we hoped for walking, running, and any sport you might fancy.
The one warning was that you might have trouble in the future with ‘tethering’- where the nerves would get caught in a time of growth, causing you pain or developmental issues. Year after year went by, and you only showed signs of growing in strength.
This past year we started noticing some irregularities in the way your legs were developing. It seemed like a good idea to consult the neurosurgeon first, as the tethering came to mind. Today you had an MRI, your first that you remember, to check things out in your back.
I didn’t worry about this procedure or this visit. In fact, when someone would ask me about it and have this really concerned look on their face, I would have to take a minute to think what they were talking about. Partly because I am busy, my mind stays busy, but also because I know this is out of my hands. God made you, Sam, and He did an awesome job. You are strong, and capable. There is no thought of limits when it comes to you. I will say I have entertained some sadness in this past year as we notice the issues with your legs. I remember having the same pangs when Aliyah, Sarah, and then Abbie needed glasses. These kinds of things point to a ‘less- than’ body, and I grieve a little bit to think that you are not 100%. The reasonable in me says, look at all you do have. The Spirit in me says, look at the future and hope I have planned for you. So I don’t stay sad.
The neurosurgeon looked over the scan and said…drumroll please…the MRI looks exactly like the one done in 2006. No tethering at this time. Thank you, Lord! This was just what I needed to hear, that there is nothing we need worry about at this time, and there was nothing we could have been doing in the past 10 years that we didn’t do. As a parent, that is the difficulty- knowing when to act and when to let a thing sit as it is. You’ll have those same dilemmas if you marry and have children, I am sure.
Thank you, God, for Sam. Thank you, Sam, for being such a great kid. I love you and look forward to seeing the man you become.