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A heart in the right place

It’s always an emotionally tricky time when your child hits a major milestone. Tomorrow, Archie, our seventh child, starts kindergarten. It’s been three years since we’ve had a Kindergartner in all their chirpy wiggly-toothed eager glory. Every last one of them has entered Kindergarten proud and ready to move into the orbit populated by big kids.

I’ve been equally proud to sniffle my goodbye as I leave them at school. By now, I know they’ll be wiped out for a few weeks after school. There could be more outbursts as they adjust and grapple with routine, new people, and the rush of learning a lot in a little time. I’m expecting the volley of a lot in the coming weeks.

I wasn’t expecting this.

Tonight, as I tucked Archie and Teddy into bed and said our prayers, it hit me: Archie was the baby who we almost lost soon after birth. There he was tonight, with his head resting on his Spongebob pillow. He is a solid little smartypants of a man on the brink of the biggest thing he’s ever faced. But I know better.

archerbabytokindy_3

I shared this plea in despair when he was a day old. It was the hardest and most desperate thing I’ve ever written, fresh off a phone call with my husband who was at home eating dinner with the kids. When I told him our still-nameless baby was fighting off something mysterious and it didn’t look good, he prayed a prayer that scared me: Your will be done, God. While I was gutted, he was an anchor. The nurses wanted to know his name. We hadn’t settled on it yet, but it seemed of utmost importance to make the plunge. I told them. They made this sign and hung it over his crib.

archerbabytokindy_4

My husband arrived at the hospital and we learned more about what was going on with Archer. We spent the longest night of our lives. The only thing we knew was that his heart wasn’t in the right place. I was in physical agony because with all the chaos, I didn’t get pain meds. I had been walking around after major abdominal surgery without drugs. Coupled with our baby’s mystery illness, Archer’s first few days are a blur of worry and pain and finally, healing all around. How can someone so tiny and fuzzy cause a tumult of all the feelings? How could he not?

Healthy

Healthy

Tomorrow, he’ll be one of the kiddos with a brand new backpack and a mama snapping pictures like crazy. I’ll leave him in a line of kids to follow his teacher into the building. He’s ready. I’m ready. Sometimes, we have a hard time letting go but with him? I’m grateful I get to let go and say goodbye tomorrow, letting him inch away.

Archie, taken last week.

Archie, taken last week.

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