Saturday, March 12, 2011

isaac. my boy. my first.

I love you, my Isaac. I love you so much it physically hurts inside my chest. When you were born my heart grew more than a thousand times. I remember the amazement of having you, grasping your slippery little body as you came into this world, your dark eyes in your sweet face, lifting your head to see me when you heard me talk to you. You changed me forever. 

It was overwhelming, the sensation of peering into this tiny little human face that was no bigger than the palm of my hand... your entire face could fit into the palm of my hand. I remember being in awe of that, holding your tiny, warm body against mine, these amazing, curious eyes drinking up every detail in your environment, your smile when it finally appeared when you were one day older than one month - I was overwhelmed with emotion in looking into your beautiful, precious face and realizing this is how we all get here - we all start as a tiny, helpless, beautiful, perfectly hopelessly fragile beings, completely and hopelessly dependent... so very tiny and yet so very huge at the same time. You changed me. From the moment I knew you were growing inside my body, inside my heart. You changed me. Forever. After all - it was you who made me a mother.  

Your smile was infectious. Eleven dimples in your face. You were always so happy. Your sense of humor was obvious, even as a little, little guy. You were, and are gifted in so many ways. I love everything about you. Your seriousness. Your curiosity. Your silliness. Your deep thoughts. I love you more than you know - like I used to say "even though we sometimes get mad at each other, even though we sometimes get sad, there is nothing you could ever, ever, ever, ever do that would make me love you any less. There is nothing that could ever make me stop loving you." Remember that?

I remember when we were on our own, me being so incredibly tired with being a full time nursing student in university, the three of us, you, Egan and I, going back and forth to the university every day, and me working as many as five jobs to keep a schedule that allowed me to be home with you both in the evenings but still be able to put food on the table. I remember us all falling asleep on the bus, waking up, nearly missing our stop, you helping carry bags up the street. I remember one night I accidentally fell asleep in the living room right after dinner. I awoke several hours later, in a bit of a panic in the middle of the night, only to find you had lovingly placed slippers on my feet and covered me with a blanket before putting yourself and your sister to bed. You were five. Memories like this make me weep.

You have always been such a precious spirit, wise beyond your years. The sentiment and wisdom you carry are far heavier than most of us are even aware of. You sometimes let this weigh on you too heavy, too much for your young shoulders to carry just yet. You probably don't even remember many of the things you've said to me over the years, secret little conversations and heart-wishes and soul stretching, achingly lovely and painful questions you've asked - and the many, many answers you've given me.

When you were a small boy, you always had this profound sense of empathy and a fierce desire to help those around you. I remember frequent occurrences with you, at a park or elsewhere where you'd hear another child crying or scared, perhaps having lost their mom, or they had climbed too high and were too scared to come down - you would stop what you were doing, go to them, put your arm around their shoulders - and while speaking quietly and reassuringly, you'd tell them "I'm not leaving you until you feel safe." You were just born this way. It is profound.

So many joyful moments with you. So many tender conversations we've had over the years - you asking your other daddy to shape up when you were only three. Sigh. You and your tender heart mourning the loss of our vacuum cleaner that you had known your whole life and rode while I cleaned the floor. You celebrating and taking very seriously the responsibility of carrying the rings for my brother Pat when he was marrying Jana, "Mom, it's pretty much the most important job - how will they get married if I don't give them their rings?" Your tenderness for the special people in your life. Your love and joy and softness for little ones. Your sorrow at saying goodbye to our kitty - your pet, your friend. Your gift for writing. Your artistic abilities. Your throwing arm. Your profound empathy and sadness you feel when you sense someone around you is in pain. Your desire to help them through it.
Don't ever change that.
It is a gift.

here are the pictures of your kitty. your keisha.

Your depth of thought and tenderness and contemplative nature scares me sometimes. I want you to shake off the serious heaviness of adulthood that is not yours to carry yet. You have walked alongside me, behind me, and with me through so many dark and painful times, dear boy. Cancer scares, us on our own, my Grandma's death, moving house eight times in your eleven years, our basement flood, the pain and growth our family experienced in the birth of your newest little brother. I love the days that you let your light shine. When you are a goof. When you make us laugh. You are such an important part of that. Here's something I wrote when were going through the difficult time of my belly being so stretched with so much extra fluid when I was pregnant with Amos, and not knowing yet if our little baby was going to have Down Syndrome or not. But we knew he needed surgery, we knew he could die, we knew everything was really scary, and Dad and I were really struggling. You were so tender and wise. 

This is such a tender time, I wish we all had super human powers of tenderness with one another. Super powered tenderness.

I can't stop crying.

I go upstairs to tuck in the kids. My hip and back suddenly deliver an incredibly sharp message of pain to my brain, and I almost fall over. My eyes well up with tears, my heart wants to break. I sob into my sleeve. Every gasp and wail hurts my already stretched and torn abdominal muscles. Isaac and Egan emerge from their beds to tend to their mother in pain. They are so sweet, and I feel horrible for making them grow up before their time, seeing me cry like this and be hurt and scared and them hearing the way Joel gets angry with feeling powerless and then says he's not angry. Isaac asks me why we got married, and tells me perhaps I am as different as Joel is from when we got married.

I tell him he's right.

Isaac says, “Mom you're strong – you've gotten through lots of hard stuff before, I think. You can do this. We are going to have another cute baby that we all get to see and hold, and maybe all this hard stuff is because God wants to bond you and dad closer to one another. God is giving us a baby with these problems to make us closer as a family.”

My eyes well up again, I know he is speaking the Truth to me. I said “You're probably right. Of course you're right.”

Remember I used to call you a wise soul? You are such a gift. 

I could never quite put into words how proud I am of you. I could never put into words how sorry I am that I will most likely fail you in some way. But know that I love you with all that I am. I will strive to love you to the best of my ability, and I love that you are bold enough to talk to me both when you feel you've failed me, and when I've failed you. 
Don't ever stop that.

Now you speak of the urgency you feel in wanting to help people off the street. To help feed the hungry. To ensure children have a safe and warm place to be. You have a gift, son.

When we learned of all of the children in our province and in our world needing families, waiting for families, especially once we started our adoption application. With all seriousness and simplicity, you boldly stated, "We are going to need a bigger house. That's just all. We are going to need a bigger house to fit all of the kids we will adopt."

You are my son. I am your mother. I love you more than you can ever know. I am so incredibly proud of you. And I am incredibly blessed by you. Everyday. I am honored to see where God will lead you. My son. 

My Isaac.

Look where we've come from.  
Look where we're going.



  1. Beautiful post, Laura. Isaac will always have such a special place in my heart. ♥


  2. Wow, you made me teary. Sounds like you have a very special boy there.

  3. waz up? wonder boy here, oh yeah. that was AWESOME... except for that picture of me with a skirt on. WOOORRRSSST!!! but at least there were four good photos, the one with my sweet face jammed up against the screen door, the ones of my pictures i drew wan i was 3 to 5, or {one of my favorite photos ever} that one with me in mid-air {so i could show off my FANTASTIC jumping skills} and i liked that i had ABSOLUTELY no shirt on {so i could show off my MAGNIFICENT abs.} aaannd Jacob is freaking out, saying "nuggo nuggo wanna nuggo" to me and stealing yourgum so i better be going.

    P.S. i only did this ps to make you mad... thank you for screaming and now i seriously must be going.

    P.S. of the P.S. this P.S. is actually about your blog, NEVER, EVER, EVER, ever, ever {pant pant} ever, ever put pictures of me with long hair on your blog... now i SERIOUSLY have to go {because egan just turned on the tv so you will know were i am going right now. so i love you and i'll see you soon, bla bla bla. Bye. <3

  4. You know I still have a framed baby photo of Isaac, my first Godchild, on my dresser. It's the one with him with his little red cap on backwards... still get comments on it :)
    To Isaac: yes you *are* Awsome and I see great things in your future...and your "P.S.'s made me laugh :P

  5. Oh, Laura! This post.....Whew! Clutching my heart right now. The image of the 3 of you on your own, a 5 year old being the little man of the house, & you......YOU being an amazing mama. That is an understatement. I don't even know you, and yet I am so proud of you.

    Your boy is precious.....another understatement.


  6. LOL that comment from your son is hysterical. Your kids are precious! That picture of your son and daughter where she is resting her chin on her hands -- freaking adorable!!

  7. Sometimes all I can do is cry when I read your blogs. Much love, Suzanne


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