(For my newborn son, with all my love.)
I knew you were.
My eyes and mind turned in
To better see
The person you would be.
And all my looking
Only showed me
Glimpses of your tiny self,
Still forming, growing,
Unknown and unknowing.
And though I could not know you yet,
You were both with me and within,
A constant partner in the journey
We’d begun together,
Part of me, yet completely new.
I felt you move.
You came to life once more,
To stake your claim upon my life
And put yours in my hands, my heart.
At first your trippings scared me,
Made me feel I couldn’t help you, keep you safe.
But as you grew and as I got to know you,
I began to see that every flutter
(Feather-light or bumping-heavy)
Helped you strengthen hands and heart –
Helped you lengthen little legs,
Preparing you to come to me
And walk the path God’s laid for you.
I’ve never seen you –
Not yet kissed your tiny head or
Felt your little fingers curl around my own …
And yet I pray so fiercely for your safety and your joy,
I must have known you all my life.
For how can love so deep and true
Spring from a bond so new?
I breathed and waited,
Waited, breathed again
For hours and for hours,
Eager now to see you, hold you,
Feeling every surge for what it was …
A force to carry you to me.
You chose your manner of arrival
And in the end you needed help
But soon enough I felt your little body on my heart
Just as I’d felt you in it for so long.
Before you came to me
I knew not whether you would be a boy-child or a girl …
But now that you are here, I see
That never had I understood the depth of
One small word … “son.”
Three little letters carrying a world of strength,
Of images and scenes …
From being brave for shots with quivering chin
To soldiering off alone when school begins.
I see you riding bikes and scraping knees,
Wanting comfort from me, yet fiercely independent.
And now I see that I had learned
To be a mother as I carried you for months within,
But to have a son …
The riches of it make me weep
To know how you have already changed me.
And as I gaze at you in wonder and in pride
I see that, yes, indeed, I’ve known you all my life
Your face to me is my heart’s map
Already I have traced its paths
A hundred and a hundred times again
Never tiring of the chance
To learn more, see more of you
Than I already know and hold so dear.
Each day your tiny self unfolds
To show me more of who you are
And I am touched and honored
To witness every treasure you reveal.
For even though I know that
I am yours and you are mine,
I know as well that you’ve come not just to me, but through me
Into a world that you will make your own
And as I celebrate your learning, growing, changing,
I must prepare to let you walk a path
That’s only yours, not mine –
Rejoicing in your strength and courage.
My son, my child, my pride, my breath …
You’ve brought my world a range of color,
A depth of truth and love that awes me
And in your tiny hand you hold my heart.