A New Beginning For Him

Today is the day I have always held in my heart with a little fear, concern, and a lot of apprehension. It came too soon, and while I’ve always known it would come, I’m still not prepared. But I don’t think I ever would have been. Today, my oldest son is 18, a legal adult, and still one of the loves of my life. I won’t get to spend it with him, unfortunately. But what mom does not let that stop her from wishing him all the love in her heart on this special day? I started at midnight texting him birthday memes, and have continued throughout the day. And now, with my heart breaking for the little boy I miss, and proud of the man he is becoming I dedicate this post to my firstborn son. My Sean.

Sean preemie


The thought of today has always been on the back burner of my brain but I really didn’t look at it often. You always think ‘there’s enough time’ even though you know there’s not. But you push the thought away and pretend it isn’t there. It’s not even the first thing on your mind when they put him in your arms. No, the very first thing I thought was, “Please don’t let him die.” The day of his birth was my very first introduction to the worries of motherhood. Sean was born when I was 33 weeks along in my pregnancy. Around forty weeks (not nine months) is when most babies are born. The last two to three weeks are when infants begin to put on weight, grow fingernails and eyelashes/eyebrows, and their lungs finish developing. It’s those last three weeks that prepare them for entering the world. My son didn’t get those last three weeks. Instead, we both found ourselves in unfamiliar territory, him being pulled out of my body by gloved hands and being stuck with needles and having tubes inserted in places tubes should never have to go and then put in an incubator rather than his mother’s arms. I only received a too-brief touch of his whisper-soft cheek against my own, and then they rushed him away.

sean preemie 2

Sean was born seven weeks early. He had to go on a breathing machine because his lungs were not fully developed, and this could cause brain damage. Also, neonatal retinopathy was also a concern at this stage. Asthma, too, was on the list, among several other issues that could arise from the lack of oxygen, brain damage being the very major one that we tried not to focus on. He had no eyebrows but the longest eyelashes you’ve ever seen, and the fullest head of pure white hair that would make Billy Idol jealous. No fingernails or toenails, though. He was so thin, but he was long. Another concern became his veins. They were tinier even than other premature infants and his veins kept being blown because the needles the neonatal unit had were too big. I still remember when I was finally allowed to see him a little over 24 hours after he’d been born. They had moved him to an open preemie bed with lights on over him to help with his jaundice. There was a needle stuck in his head and tubes and lights everywhere, a breathing tube in his throat, and no sound coming out of his mouth, and he was crying. It was the first time my heart broke where my son was concerned, but not the last. And I can’t even begin to describe what I felt when he stopped crying the moment he heard my voice. There are no words for it. Imagine someone you love being in terrible pain or scared out of their minds, and the ONLY thing that comforts them is your voice. That’s the closest I can get. I was exhausted from my own pain because while I hadn’t gone through labor, I’d had terrible back pain for five days before I went to the hospital, then an emergency c-section, and, finally, a nurse who was so careless that every time she pushed me in the wheelchair she hit something which jarred the chair and nearly caused me to pass out. I was miserable and, at the time, I remember I thought that his crying was echoing my own heart.

Sean preemie 3

The thing is, there was never a moment where I ever felt that he wouldn’t make it. Not once. Call it a mother’s intuition, call it stubborn denial, it doesn’t matter. My heart and soul knew he’d be fine from the moment I first touched him. And he was. He spent two and a half weeks in the neonatal unit (don’t get me started on how hard it was to leave him there in the hospital when I should have been taking him home-unless you’ve gone through it, you have no idea what it was like). We had some obstacles to overcome, like the heart monitor he had to wear 24 hours a day for three months, the bottle feeding we had to switch to because he couldn’t breastfeed as his mouth muscles were not strong enough, and my own 6-8 week recovery along with all of the normal new parent/new baby issues. By the time he reached three months, he was off of his heart monitor and had tripled his birth weight (that being 5 pounds).

Sean 11

When you become a mom for the first time, there is no end to the worrying. You freak out at the first fever, the first fall, and the first boo-boo.With Sean, I worried so much more over these little things. But we both survived his infancy, and so far, his teens as well. Sean was a joy. I loved being a mother, though I hadn’t wanted to be one at the time I found out I was pregnant. Isn’t life funny that way? And now, I can’t even truly imagine a life without my kids in it. I still worry over Sean, though now my worries are focused on what type of man will he be, did I raise him right, will he be a good husband, and will he remember to call me on my birthday once he’s on his own (I know that seems silly, but boys don’t have the best memories). I don’t worry about whether or not he’ll be a good father because I know he will be. Every one of his brothers love him, simply adore him, and have always looked up to him, even when he may have been less considerate of them. He has many challenges ahead of him now, and the next seven months are the last he has to not have to worry about all of the things becoming an adult brings. He graduates in June. I’ve had time to get used to the idea of cutting the apron strings. I’ve been doing it for years. Every time he had to leave me to go to his dad’s house, and then last year when he decided it was time for him to try living at his dad’s again. He cut the strings completely then, though there’s still this one single thread left to cut, and I both look forward, and dread, the day he asks a young woman to marry him. And it’s coming, I know, just like this day finally did. Although, I do have a little more time on a proposal as he is still single, but looking. Let’s get through college first, Sean.

Sean 2

I know that for him this is a huge day. It’s big for me, too. But tomorrow he’ll wake up and do the same thing he’s done every Friday for the last month. He’ll go to school, get through his classes, and get ready to go play his trumpet at his high school’s football game. I doubt he’ll even think of the implications of it though. Last Friday was his last time to play as a seventeen year old. Tomorrow is his first time playing as an 18 year old adult. Tomorrow is another last day of his high school career. Tomorrow is already history, though he isn’t even aware of it. Today begins a new book for him, although, technically, the book of his childhood is not finished. Not yet. He still has seven months left, except now, it’s his choice. Today he can walk into the school office and drop out of high school. He won’t, but he could. At any time now, he can walk out of his dad’s house without permission and go do whatever he wants to do. Have we taught him enough about cause and effect, action and reaction, choices and consequences? Because now they matter. Now, he’s legally responsible for his actions, not I or his dad. We’ll still be there to bail him out if he needs help, and if we can. But, now, his choices are solely his to make. He gets to have the only say in what is best for him. Did we let him make enough mistakes to learn from? Did we teach him how to accept responsibility and be an honorable man with integrity? Did we pass this most important test?

Bears soccer

Sean, you have always carried my heart with you even though you’ve never known it. I have loved you from the very first moment I heard your heart beat, and I will never stop loving you even when the breath is gone from my body, and only my memory remains. You have brought me such joy, and a lot of challenges. My tall son, you will always be that small baby whose silent cries I soothed, the first son who had me sing songs until I was hoarse. Rainbow Connection will always be our song, and I thank you for all the times you danced with me. Thank you for dealing with my mistakes with humor and righteous indigantion. Thank you for pointing out when I was wrong, and for teaching me what real honesty is. Thank you for all the times you made me laugh with your really terrible jokes, and for every time I was so mad at you and you had to stop and ask me what we were arguing about which made me stop and think and ultimately realize it wasn’t worth arguing about.

Sean 9

For you, today is the beginning of a new book in your life. I’m not going to say it’s a chapter because it really isn’t. Childhood isn’t a chapter. It is indeed a book. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Then, if we’re lucky, there’s a sequel. You’ve made it to your sequel, and I can’t wait to see how Sean: Adulthood, Part 1, is going to turn out. Sean: Childhood was fantastic! I’m hooked.

Sean 12

Sadly, though, for me this is an ending. You are no longer (legally) my responsibility. And that makes me sad. I have cared for you, made sure your needs were met, and loved you, all of your life, and now…well, soon anyway… you will have to do it for yourself. I will always be here when you need me, and there’s no end to how much I will always love you. And if I’m waxing too sentimental, suck it up. It’s your fault. 🙂 You made me a mom, and that gives me every right to sentimentality and tears today. I hope you have the best birthday you can have today, Seanbon.

Love, Mom

P.S. See you Saturday!

Sean 3In My Arms

by Plumb

sean 13

Your baby blues
So full of wonder
Your curlicues
Your contagious smile
And as I watch
You start to grow up
All I can do
is hold you tight


Knowing clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms

Sean 10
Story books are full of fairy tales
Of kings and queens and the bluest skies
My heart is torn just in knowing
You’ll someday see the truth from lies

When the clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms

Castles – they might crumble
Dreams may not come true
But you are never all aloneDSC00078
‘Cause I will always,
Always love you
Hey I,
Hey I,

Sean 14When the clouds will rage in
Storms will race in
But you will be safe in my arms
Rains will pour down
Waves will crash around
But you will be safe in my arms, in my arms


Sean 7family 1

Jesi Kay
Jesi Kay, poet and aspiring novelist, was born in the Texas panhandle where wide skies, lazy summer days, and rolling thunderstorms sparked her imagination and left lasting memories in her blood. An early reader, poetry and mythology were her passions. So much so that when she was ten years old her step-father gave her his college mythology textbooks to read, which were full of classic poetry and more than enough tales to fill her romantic and inquisitive nature. Jesi loves reading, art, going to the theater, the romanticism of the Victorian era (but not the missing conveniences of indoor plumbing and central air conditioning), running when the heat and humidity cooperate, and cold weather so she can wear her favorite boots and knitwear. Also, she still has those college mythology textbooks, a little worse for wear over time but still intact and telling their stories to her. Jesi is a contributor at The Well Tempered Bards blog and at

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