Originally posted in the Miami News-Record on November 25, 2014
As I write this, it is the wee hours of Thursday morning, November 20th. It was right about this time 16 years ago that my husband and I arrived at Freeman Hospital. We had traveled mostly in silence, the quiet occasionally broken by, “Do you think he’ll look like Abby?” or “What color eyes do you think he’ll have?” The other would answer and the silence would resume. I was terrified. Not about the labor or delivery, but about the condition of my heart.
About halfway through the pregnancy with my son I was driving to Joplin with my mom. My then not-quite-two-year-old daughter was in the back seat, jabbering incessantly about probably nothing, kicking her little legs, and pointing at things out the window. Some question Mom asked about the baby, or how I was feeling, or maybe about the crib bedding prompted me to tears. She, knowing my propensity to bust out into random, unexplained crying, wasn’t all that surprised at all, but gently asked, “Kristin, what is wrong?”
It was then that I said the words I hadn’t been able to say out loud, but had been holding inside for months. With tears streaming down my face I said, “Mom, what if I don’t love him like I love Abby? I mean, I love her so much my heart is full. I already love him, don’t get me wrong, but…..how on earth can I ever love another child the way I love her?” By then I was sobbing, embarrassed that I had uttered such awful words. My mom, such a wise, wise woman, reached over and patted my leg as she said, “Oh, honey. You won’t love him like you do Abby. It will be different. But you really don’t need to worry about having enough love. A mother’s heart is equipped to do a lot of stretching. Of course, you feel like your heart is completely full with love for Abby, but here’s the thing – the second that baby boy is born, your mother’s heart will instantly grow so all the love you have for him can fit. Don’t worry, honey. You’ll have plenty of room.”
At 11:56am on November 20th, 1998, a 7lb 7oz boy named Sam entered this world quickly, loudly, and dramatically. I think he was born right before the noon hour so he wouldn’t miss lunch – and he’s been eating constantly ever since. He was a screaming, dark-headed thing with a very crooked nose when he entered this world. The nose straightened itself out, but the screaming lasted for years. He was our second child, our first (and only) son. He ate voraciously, made a lot of noise, slept little.
Now at 6-foot tall, he likes to rest his arms on top of my head and state, “You’re short.” Ha. Yeah, that never gets old. If you ask him to do something for you it’s “Yes, ma’am” as he jumps to his feet. He loves to joke around and make stupid faces. It’s impossible to not laugh around this kid. He’s got a heart for God and a passion for helping others. And when he gets tickled about something, his laugh is what makes my heart happy.
And Mom was right – like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that blessed day in November, 1998. There was no difference in how I felt about him and my worried, 25-year-old heart had plenty of room for two children – which was good, because little did I know my 28-year-old heart was going to undergo construction for an add-on just a few years later.
So, Happy Birthday, to my dear Sammy. And to all of you driving the streets of Miami and the surrounding area roadways: If you see a big red Durango with a license plate reading RDNKDVA and a zombie family and “STUDENT DRIVER” sticker on the back, well, wave first, then get out of the way. Whether it’s him or me driving, it’s probably just best you move.