|My son Jonathan on his first birthday|
Thirty-two years ago, on March 27, 1980, my firstborn child was born.
I was 23 years old, excited and scared, and there was so much I didn't know before my labor began and my husband rushed me to the hospital.
I didn't know that I was going to have a little boy. Very few people knew the sex of their child in those days; ultrasounds weren't as common as they are now, and doctors often made mistakes when guessing the gender.
I didn't know I was going to have a C-section. We had taken Lamaze classes and thought we would have a completely natural, non-medicated birth, because that was what was expected. (To this day, I don't know if I could have gone through with that! I have a pathetically low pain threshold.)
I didn't realize how much a baby would change my life--how everything would now revolve around this little person, his needs and his demands, and how that would take some adjusting to and maturing on my part.
I didn't realize how much a baby would change my life--I didn't know how much joy Jonathan would bring to me and my husband. I didn't realize how immense, how ineffable, how unconditional your love can be for this person that lived inside your body for nine months.
I didn't realize how fast those early years would go. I'm sad because--although other people did--we didn't have a video camera to record priceless moments, only a cheap camera that failed to capture what a fun, smart, precocious, adorable and incredibly beautiful little boy we had.
I didn't realize how Jonathan would grow up so quickly into a teen-ager, then a young man. I couldn't look into the future and see how proud he would make us with his intelligence, his love for God, his creativity ,his character, his work ethic, and later his wonderful qualities as a husband and as a father to his own sons.
I didn't know (although I prayed it would be so) that he would meet a beautiful girl and marry her--the perfect wife for him, and mother of the two little boys I love most in this world.
I didn't foresee how often Jonathan would make us smile, make us laugh, and bring us joy--not only for the few years he lived in our home, but to this day.
I didn't know he would be a person of real empathy and sensitivity. That he would be like me in many ways, loving all kinds of music and loving to read. That he would introduce me to books, movies and TV shows that would become my favorites, like "Lost" and "Fringe."
(I admit, I could have easily guessed that he would be like his father in loving sports. That would have to be a given in our home--my daughter does too!)
I would be lying, of course, if I said that being a mother was a path of unalloyed pleasure and happiness. There is plenty of worry and fear along that path as well.
But if I had realized on the eve of March 27, 1980, just how much love and joy being a mother (to Jonathan, and later to Justin and Elizabeth) would bring, my heart just might have burst.
Maybe it's a good thing we can't see into the future.
Happy birthday to my wonderful firstborn son, Jonathan Douglas Swanson! I love you more than words can say!