My beautiful baby boy,
Today marks one year since you were born. I remember the anxiety of awaiting your arrival....with contractions that kept coming and going. I remember going to see Dr. Cole on the morning of January 26th, and I walked into the office thinking, "Are these contractions doing anything?" He announced that I was dilated to about 5 cm.... He also informed me that if you didn't come that evening, then I would be back the next morning to go to the hospital for a little pitocin to help things along. I remember feeling like my body was just malfunctioning and unable to do this whole "labor" thing correctly. Karni was so patient-even when all my contractions stopped for an hour and I was fully dilated.
That morning, this verse was part of my Bible study:
"A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." John 16:21
The moment I held you in my arms, I was undone. It never gets old. That moment, where you first hold this person that has been growing inside you, in your arms. In those early days of your birth, I remember thinking how special the time was. It really felt like it was just you and I, in our own little world of joy: feedings, diaper changes, snuggles. It was pure bliss.
I wasn't ready for all that to change. But are we ever ready? You were so little when we found out you had cancer. 7 weeks old. I remember one of the night doctors when you were admitted (I'm sure she was SO tired), but she asked me, "Is he hitting all his milestones? Sitting up? Rolling over?"
I looked back and replied, "He's seven weeks old." You only lived 7 weeks before all the poking and prodding started. We had no idea how life would change, and neither did you.
This year has gone faster than any of the years prior. This year has been one of the hardest, and yet one of the best all at the same time. It was full of heartache and sadness...as we learned of your cancer, and then the genetic mutation we hoped you didn't have.... But it was also full of adventure. You traveled to NY eight times before your first birthday. Because of you we saw the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and we discovered the amazing restaurant in Pennsylvania. We lived the equivalent of a month's time in our van between the two trips across country. But also because of you, our hearts were opened to a world of childhood cancer. A world where compassion and sympathy run deep and hope is needed at every turn.
Your name, Elijah Seth, means "appointed by Jehovah, God." To appoint means to decide on beforehand; to establish. There is not one doubt in my mind that you were appointed by God for so many things. In one year of your life, nothing has been or ever will be the same. Our lives have been delightfully altered from their previous course.
One last thing that I remember so well from that day you were born. As you made your way through the birth canal-your body was halfway out (with a surprisingly large midsection). Karni was telling me to slow down and breathe. But you, you were ready. So you placed both of those tiny feet against me and kicked with ALL your might to free yourself and finish your grand entrance into this world.
You are a fighter. As a mom, I would wish to spare you from this cancer stuff, this life of *fighting*. But you were a born fighter.
And so, my darling boy. My prayer for you is that you would live each moment to the fullest-as you have taught us to do. I pray that you would stand firm for what is true, even when you stand alone...just as the Old Testament prophet Elijah did against the prophets of Baal. And I pray that even though you have lost one eye and will continue to fight for the other, I pray that you would know deep in your being that seeing is a gift from God. One that is not always dependent on the physical ability of the eyes. There are those with eyes who miss seeing so much. I pray that you would be one who sees-- sees the hearts that are heavy, is willing to hear the cries of the hurting, and will fight against it all with the compassion and kindness of one who has been comforted by the Lord. May you continue to be a fighter-a mighty warrior of the Lord whose struggle is not against flesh and blood. May you be one who pushes back darkness and hatred and despair by the power of Jesus Christ, who is himself light, love, and hope. My prayer is summed up in the words of Paul to the Ephesians: