I remember well, the day I sat in my friend John’s living room, having just bathed an ancient pregnancy test (found – oddly – in a wall in his house) with my pee. I don’t remember what day it was or what I was wearing or what I’d been planning to do that night. I do remember sitting there, smoking a cigarette, watching a line form. Not the first – YAY YOU PEED ON A STICK PROPERLY, DUMBASS – line; a second one.

Certainly it wasn’t a second line. There’s no way it could be a second line. I was on BIRTH CONTROL Y’ALL and really, no, just that wasn’t a second line.

I held it up to the light as it darkened; moving from a light second line to a dark WHOOPS! second line.

Then I made my friend John, in from shoveling the snow, look at it.

“That’s a line, right? It’s a second line? That can’t be a line. How could that be a line?”

John stared down at it, then looked at me with dawning horror. He didn’t speak. He just nodded his head.

That was the first time my life fell on it’s ear.

On August 20 (tomorrow), 2001, at a respectable 3:10PM, I pushed a baby boy from my nether regions, and while he looked at me with a similar look that John had given me – dawning horror – I wrapped him in my arms and kissed his damp head.

I was a mother.

Tasked with raising this extremely squally baby was a big job, I knew that much, but ten years later, I cannot think of a decision I’ve made since that hasn’t involved his well-being.

I dropped out of the medical school track and enrolled in nursing school. I found him a proper father. I gave him two siblings. We fought through autism and custody battles. I gave him the house and the yard and the kid sister and brother I’d dreamed of giving him, back when the days seemed darkest.

Because as blithe as I can be about things, there were days of only tears – no joy – because the decisions I made to better my life for son came with consequences. I was gone more often than not. I was taking a test when my son took his first steps. Speech and Occupational therapy met when I was in class.

While I was trying to give him the world, I missed out on so much. There were days I sat in my car and wept, trying to remember that this was all for the best, that in the end, I would be giving my son the world.

When I met Daver, Benjamin was two, and he took to him like nobody’s business. He took to Dave in a way he’d never taken to me, and while I was thrilled, it broke my heart a little more. I wanted nothing than to know that my struggles, killing my own dreams, everything I’d done, it was all for him.

In a decade, I gave my son everything I’d wanted and more.

He walked me down the aisle as I got married. He watched me march across the stage to graduate with high honors. He’s seen me become a nurse and later, a writer. He’s held his siblings when they were born, joy evident on his tiny face as they looked at him, their big brother, with awe.

There is not a single decision I have made in ten years that has not been for him or because of him.

When I say, “I don’t know where I’d be without Ben,” I mean it. I do not genuinely know.

And frankly, I don’t want to.

As I watch him scamper around outside, pushing his siblings on the swings while the screams of glee echo through my neighborhood, I can hardly believe that I’d once sat in my car, alone, weeping, worried about the future.

I’ve seen the future, and it is beautiful.

So is my son; my precious firstborn.

Happy Birthday, Benjamin. Without you, I wouldn’t be me.

Thank you for turning my life on it’s ear; making me a better person. For making me something I’d never, ever considered becoming: a mother.

53 thoughts on “And Now You Are Ten

  1. I hear you, but from the other side of the spectrum.

    I remember seeing the same double lines, but at age 43.

    I thought I was done with children, just beginning my Master’s Program, and now a baby.

    And now, this old age baby: has made me want to stay on this earth as long as possible.

    I adore the sunshine he has brought to me every single day that he has been here.

    I love being an old lady mama.

    1. My mother-in-law has a 15 month old daughter. I consider myself a reverse-grandma! While she was pregnant, we all talked about how weird it would be, but now, life wouldn’t be the same without that little girl. Congratulations to you.

  2. You know, while I don’t really and actually believe that “all things happen for a reason”, because good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people and blah blah blah, I truly believe that it is true that it is what you do with what you get that makes a life more or less worthwhile. And that is where I am your biggest fan (or One of the Pranksters). I am running to keep up with you and that, in and of itself, is a joy.

    Happy birthday Ben. Happy birthedyourfirstkid day, Aunt Becky.

  3. Aw, you got me. But these are happy tears today. Happy birthday, Ben! Happy gave birth day, AB! Glitter swirls up, down and all around y’all!

  4. This post is beautiful, it made me tear up. I was so young when I had my son too and it’s so nice to know there is someone out there like me! You have given him a wonderful life and you should be proud of yourself!

  5. Happy Birthday to Ben, your 1st born & the little person who changed your world. And congratulations to you for being a good mother to him & giving him everything you possibly could for 10 years. What a great post. Made me teary eyed. Thinking of the day my very own Benjamin came into my world. My 1st born, who also struggles with Autism.
    Happy Birthday to Ben & happy birthday to AB the Mom.

  6. Happy Happy Birthday Ben and Thank You. Thank you for starting your mom on the path to becoming a writer because, without her writing, without her blog, I never would have met you mom and made such a wonderful friend.

  7. A beautiful post, Aunt Becky.

    I wish the happiest of birthdays to Ben.

    And thank him for us. For without him, you would never be the you you have become. And without the you, there would be a grassless, gravelly spot sitting empty in the ether of the Internet. A spot that would never make us laugh. A spot that would never make us weep. A spot that would never make us feel like we were at home.

  8. Happy Happy Birthday Ben! The world is a better place because you are in it! Congratulations to Aunt Becky and the whole family. So very happy for all of you.

  9. Our children are exactly 1 year apart. Give or take 20 minutes. And having had a multitude of struggles since that day, I know how it feels to realize that without her, there would be no me.

    Happy birthday to our kids.

  10. Happy Birthday to your son, and happy original Mother’s Day to you. Isn’t it strange what becoming a mother can do to you? My husband is the one who decided on college, we both work very hard to provide for my daughter’s needs and wants. We painstakingly had to decide where to take her for daycare. (I cried and agonized every day that I had to leave her there, although she loved it.) Now she is four. Husband still in school, I still work outside the home. I have had the same sitting-in-the-car moments. I think it proves just how much we care for our families. We worry because we want it to be right. We cry because sometimes we miss out on time providing for things like food and clothes. But then they hug, and make up cute songs and draw amazing pictures about their families. That is when I know my sacrifices are worth it. Once again, happy birthday to your son and thank you for writing this blog.

  11. Just gotta say – Thanks for this. My 1st is also a Ben and reminiscing over his past 25 b-days always brings up the same reaction. I thought I was being sappy reading your writing and thankfully your faithful followers had the same reaction.

  12. Very cool. Today six years ago, my little man came to be. I think there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my son, Gavin. Today is a good day!!! Happy birthday to yours!!!!

  13. Oh, how precious! You are both so blessed to have each other. Your story of peeing on the stick reminded me of the time I did that. If it was negative, I was going to go buy another pack of cigarettes. If it was positive, well, no need to run to the gas station.

  14. The futur does look bright. My mother had me at age 21 (I was not planned). She decided to keep me even though she new she would raise me alone (my father was an alcoholic). She had dropped out of school at 17 and left home so she was only a secratary at the time. We moved a lot and she went through a few partners but through the years she went to Univertsity part time while she worked her ass off full time and raising a baby on her own. When she was 37 I was around 15 years old and I was so proud of her when she finaly got her bachelors degree from one of the best schools in montreal. Today I’m 24 years old (she will be 47 in a few days) and although I’m sure my mom had a hard time raising me, she never made me feel like life was hard and I can say that I have had the happiest childhood (in my view). When your son is my age, believe me he will understand the sacrefices you’ve done for him and he will apprecieate you more every passing year. You’ve done a great job…………he knows it and he loves you as I love my mom.

  15. “Everything happens for a reason.” We all end up where we’re supposed to be. It doesn’t always make sense at the time but eventually it all comes together. Happy (belated)Birthday Ben and Happy Ben’s Birthday to Aunt Becky. You are both right where you are supposed to be.

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