I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Every person you meet comes into your life for a reason. You may not know why for years, or you may know right away. Some people we meet briefly and wonder if you’ll ever see them again. About 3 years ago, while my husband’s best friend from childhood (they’ve literally known each other since they were toddlers!) was up from Florida visiting us, we got to meet his sister Anna and her partner Micah. We all met up at the Thirsty Moose, had burgers and beers, shared stories and laughs, and my husband somehow walked away with Micah’s hat (which he still wears!). Flash forward to May and my husband told me that Anna and Micah had had a baby boy – I was thrilled (we all know I love babies!). But his news, his voice, was tempered and I immediately knew something wasn’t quite right. Baby Nathen was born on May 26th at 24 weeks gestation and was at the NICU at Maine Medical. He was 1 pound, 5 ounces at birth. So tiny! To a fault, I empathize with these mamas, especially first time mamas. Even mamas I don’t know, who live on the other size of the world. Having a baby born this early when she’s not ready emotionally or physically, baby being born when he/she is not ready emotionally or physically is more than I can even comprehend. The months, weeks, days, hours spent at the hospital by the baby’s size, putting aside all of your own needs to tend to this life you’ve created – I can’t imagine the exhaustion that is your life not only then, but in the quiet healing that has to take place not only for the time you are in the hospital, but for years – even a lifetime, as both a mother and a father. Nothing can prepare you for this start to parenthood!
But Nathan, this boy is a brute! (and his mom and dad are pretty badass too – they’re both talented arborists!). He survived a MRSA infection at only weeks old and he finally got to go home in the end of September, where he has been thriving. Just watching these two young people care for Nathan, smile at his smiles, breastfeed him tenderly, talk about their plans as a family – makes me pause. This is the stuff of life that moves us, that humbles us, that humbles me. At this time of year when the holidays can bring out the materialistic ugliness in our culture, look at these images and be reminded of all we have and all we are thankful for: our health, to have this life, to laugh at baby farts, to kiss your partner, to hug your mother, to hold each other. I am thankful to have shared a beer with you Anna and Micah – we were meant to meet each other. And more importantly, Nathan was meant to have you both as parents, and Susan and David as grandparents. He chose you because he knew would love him with all your might!