Right before surgery, 8 months old.
People tell you that you won't really know what love is, or what being a parent is like, until you hold your own child in your arms. I'm here to tell you that those people are right. At every new milestone I have with Weston I think about my own parents. Growing up, my mother always regaled us with stories about how we were as babies; what we ate, when we started walking, etc. As I watch my own son grow, I think about these stories my mother told us, and compare the fabled baby Olivia to Weston. Now that Weston is creeping around and standing, I think about how my mother tells me that I walked so early I had bowed-legs, and the doctors noticed it, but my ever-loving mother thought I was beyond perfect.

But, there is one milestone coming up that I simply cannot comprehend. Weston is just about to be 8 months old. When I was 8 months old, I was wheeled into an operating room, my chest was opened up, I was put on a machine to keep me breathing, and surgeons made two valves in my heart, where previously there had only been one. I was born with an A/V Canal Defect, as well as having two holes in my heart. If I hadn't had the surgery, I would have died. Scary.

When I hold my sweet 8 month old boy, I cannot even imagine what must have been going through my parents' minds as they held their 8 month old baby girl and didn't know whether she would live or die. I cannot even begin to picture their faces as I was sedated and wheeled into surgery. What do you even say to your child at that moment? My mother tells me the worst part was that I was happy, I was calm...and I had no clue what was coming. I often ask my mother what she did while I was in surgery and she says that she just passed out from exhaustion and worry. My parents were younger than I am now, only 25. At 25 I was getting ready to get married, and not thinking about serious life issues like a sick baby. When I rock Weston to bed, I can't help but think of my parents (and grandparents) sitting in a hospital room, holding my hand through the rails of the hospital crib, as I was hooked up to all the machines.

Often, I try to see my parenting-world through my parents' eyes, and yet with this, I simply cannot. I cannot even fathom a fraction of what they felt. I am so blessed to be here, and I am so grateful to have had parents who made my life about Olivia, and not Olivia-the-once-sick-baby.

Do you ever look at your own parenting through your parents' eyes? 

One Comment

  1. I *always* reflect on how amazing my parents were and what choices they made. They lost a little boy before I was born. He was born early and lived just a few days. It was not socially acceptable for them to grieve, so they got no support. Their parents didn't talk about it with them. My mom was only 22.

    Each thing I do that feels so grown up -- acting as "team parent" for my daughter's soccer team, investigating orthodontics for my son, and dealing with lice in the middle of the night :-), I am wowed that my parents did all these things, seemingly with such confidence, when they were about 10 years younger than I am!