I held your hand as we walked up to the school today. A small line of nervous looking 5-year-olds and their parents milling around the brick wall, vying for a place in the shade. I'm not sure who was holding on tighter, you or me; actually I know the answer, it was me. You were sure of your place in the line, with your favorite Snoopy backpack and the airplane shirt you had picked out the night before.
As I held your tiny hand, it felt not as tiny anymore. Emotions and memories started flooding over me as I began to realize the significance of this very moment. You see, this is the exact moment I have worried about, prayed about, and planned for since before you were even born.
When they told me I would be giving birth just shy of the start of my third trimester, so many fears about your future were created. Statistics were against you, terrifying terms were never-ending; brain bleeds, learning disabilities, autism, asthma, developmental delays, small size, deadly colds. It was a daunting task to be given, to be your mom. God gave us a terrifying path to cultivate this little life, but you did nothing but fight and flourish so we plowed ahead patiently (and let's be honest, sometimes not so patiently).
Your dad and I had a goal along with the developmental team at the hospital: get you ready for Kindergarten on time with your peers in 5 1/2 years. We had no idea if that would ever be attainable but that was the goal.
There is hope in every garden. You start with a blank slate, plant the seed, and spend endless amounts of time cultivating, fertilizing, pulling weeds, keeping out pests, warding of things which can damage the plants. It doesn't happen overnight, but slowly the garden starts to grow. Your hard work starts to show as the garden grows roots and starts to flourish.
You fought every single second of your beginning but when you started to flourish, you took off like.....well, whatever plant grows really fast and strong (I'm a writer, not a botanist).
As we stand together waiting for your new teacher to welcome you in to Kindergarten, to the Garden of Children, I marvel at how normal we look. No one would know you were barely two pounds at birth and spent your first six weeks of life in an isolette, another six weeks learning how to breathe and eat. No one would know we spent your first 18 months at developmental clinics checking your progress, meeting with Early Intervention therapists to see how you learned new skills and what your learning style may be.
To the outside world, you are just a tall, smart, charismatic 5-year-old with a thirst for learning and all things outer-space. But we know the difference. We see our miracle, our flourishing garden walking in the doors of a new school with sparkles in your eyes, ready to take on a new season.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a brown thumb. But you, my son, are the most beautiful and important garden in the world.