At 8:50 pm, on January 31st 2008, (5 long short years ago) I lay in the OR while Josh was taken over 5 weeks too early. They called it fetal distress and couldn’t wait for nature to take it’s course. As the rolled the gurney out of the room where Tim sat signing consent papers they told us to prepare for his death. ‘He will most likely not survive the birth’ were the last things I heard before leaving Tim’s side. I was terrified. Josh was my first child, I was not a mother yet in my soul but I loved that little baby and I had grown used to his kicking and rolling around. We didn’t labour through our progression to mother and child. We didn’t bond when they took him from me, blue and tiny, he didn’t cry. The nurse quickly held him up so that I could catch a glimpse of him before taking him to another room to prep him for the seemingly hundreds of tubes, wires, needles that would remain in every available spot on his tiny body for weeks to come. There was no holding him, no congratulations, you have a boy. Tim didn’t cut the cord. Instead They emptied my womb and then they emptied the room. Tim and I were taken to the recovery room, I shook violently and my blood pressure was through the roof. Most of that night five long short years ago is a foggy nightmare, the only night mare I really wish I could remember more clearly. I saw him once that night, a number of hours later when he was all set to go through the tunnel to Sick Kids. Tim went with Josh and I was taken to my room alone. I was terrified. What if he died and I wasn’t there? What if he was already gone and they were too scared of my reaction to tell me to my face. I cried almost all night.
Minutes of life, turned to hours, then days, weeks, months and now here we sit. Five beautiful years later with a wonderful, smart, funny, charming little man who told me today about his great dream last night about riding a roller-coaster through the city, and how much fun it was, he even imitated the screams of delight for me.
I found it funny that on a day that we celebrate his life, he has a dream about a roller coaster. That is the epitome of what life with Josh has been. Five years of slow climbs up the hills, and then fast and terrifying swoops down the rails, arms flown high, screams of fear mixed with moments of triumphant delight.
I look back on that night five years ago and it seems like yesterday in many ways, but if I look closer it’s been the longest five years of my life. He was everything I needed, everything I wanted and sometimes my living proof of God’s loving, sovereign hand in my life and yet before him I had no idea I needed any of it. I have said this before, but he’s one of the greatest blessings in my life and I didn’t know I wanted it until he was there, that cold, stormy January night.
Today as he danced out of school, awed that his whole class would sing happy birthday to him, or when he was (much to my delight) that he wanted Swiss Chalet for his birthday dinner, and cake of course, when he told me for the first time about his dreams, or shared that he wanted to be a hockey player when he grows up… well, I get all girly and weepy because I feel they he was giving me a gift for his birthday.
I have always been awed by Joshua’s strength, his courage and his intensity, he’s taught me more about courage and resilience than any other person I know. Today, today he taught me that sometimes our prayers are answered yes, but not yet. Sometimes the yes is broken into a thousand little parts that when put together make up on giant YES! Today I saw that these last five long short years have been a thousand parts leading up to a yes. God will heal him, he’s already started and he’s not done yet.
I don’t think I need to explain the long and the short of the last five years. They just were, long to wade through and short to look back on.
Never, ever, say never to Josh, and don’t bet that God can’t pull off miracles!