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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Babies

Christmas 2010 will always be a year remembered in our household because it was a milestone year for our two children. It was our daughter's last Christmas before college graduation and our son's last Christmas before high school graduation. For as exciting as it was for all of us to plan the next moves in their lives, it was also a very reflective time to think back on past holidays.
Now, five years later, we not only have two college graduates, but both of them are married and off on their own! The word reflective is an understatement, by now it's more of a need for a tissue box.
Twenty-three years ago on Dec. 24 our son came into this world too early, too traumatically.

Dealing with Systemic Lupus, my pregnancy was a very planned, high risk ordeal from the start. An autoimmune condition, my body treated this child as an invasion and tried to reject its presence. With lupus the immune system is in overdrive and actually turns on itself. Steroids and blood thinners helped keep things under control in hopes to at least get beyond the congenital age of 28 weeks. We made it to 32 weeks before things started to go very wrong and the birth was induced. Toxemia and thrombosis became a risk to both myself and the baby.
Whisked away immediately to the neonatal intensive care unit it wasn't exactly the scene a mother envisions.

Mother Nature is quite amazing. Our son's nervous system and lungs were both strong for his congenital age, while his body's ability to keep itself warm was underdeveloped. Breathing on his own was a definite plus. He just needed time to continue to grow. Our tiny baby remained in the hospital a month to gain body fat and once he hit five pounds was allowed to go home.

By that time my own flare-up from the Lupus was under control, for I had ended up back in the hospital myself, and I was more than ready for him to come home. My poor husband, I'm sure he was a wreck, but as too often the case, emotional support for the husband/dad is often overlooked.
Mid-January was our Christmas celebration that year, and the tree was still up and waiting for us.

Over the years, our son thrived and caught up developmentally. Premature children have immature nervous systems which can result in being overly sensitive to stimuli such as noise, light, touch or stress. Told in most cases these children catch up developmentally by the age of eight, we didn't worry over every little setback from teachers. I think one of the most annoying things with evaluations is the tendency to label children with some type of developmental disorder. My mother's best advise for raising children was "this too shall pass".

Children need to know they are good at some thing, some passion. With him, it was music. He received his first acoustic guitar for his ninth birthday. His passion for music went beyond a hobby. To take an idea and put it to words and then to music is amazing. Songwriting really is poetry set to music. Studying lyrics and what those words are saying can be a very useful tool to understand one's child and how they think.
Below is a song written at the age of 18 when social issues, politics and ethics weigh heavily on the minds of our young people about to step out into the real world.

Upon graduating from High School, college was the goal, but after his freshman year, being the high achiever he is, he took his future one step further and joined the Army. As a mother, the jumble of emotions felt over this voluntary decision was overwhelming at times. While many young people his age are more into relationships and parties, here this young man was mapping out his financial and career path. The lyrics of the above song hint at what has now become a desire to work in journalism, and using the military to gain contacts and connections seemed the ideal route to attain that goal.

Now an American soldier, our Christmas baby of 1992 will be turning 23, another birthday celebration for our once three pound baby who has become quite the young man. With college under his belt, commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, his beautiful bride by his side, the world is opening up with opportunity.
He certainly took to heart his Dad's advice whenever unsure about a decision, "When in doubt, go for it.".

And let that be our Holiday wish for all of our young people entering adulthood in this insecure world in which we live.

Happy Holidays!

July 25, 2015