My son was born prematurely--large for a preemie at 5 lbs. 4 oz. but still a preemie. At 34 weeks, he was not ready to be born. His lungs weren't ready to breathe air. His tiny body was unable to keep itself warm. His digestive system was not prepared for milk.
This was my passage into motherhood. A mom to a tiny baby, a tiny baby that doctors and nurses could care for better than I could. A mom to a tiny baby who remained in the hospital long after I was released.
My husband tried gallantly to help me, even in the middle of his own brokenness. But sadness, uncertainty, and doubt consumed me.
A few weeks after his birth, things grew especially rough for my son. During a blood transfusion, I sat beside his bassinet. His eyes--his beautiful, dark, perfect eyes--opened and locked on mine. It was not the first time he'd looked at me, but in that moment, I truly became my son's mother. I was his fiercest protector, his strength when he was weak, his strongest supporter, the one who would teach him about going on when things get tough, the one who would not give up. Ever. Because I was his mom--and a mom who has a God who didn't give up on her.
My son is now fourteen and I have a daughter on the cusp of thirteen. And teenagers present a whole new side of momming, but when things get tough and parenting grows hard, I look into my kid's eyes and know--there's no way I will give up.