My son asked me to list about 10 memories of his life. Something he needed for a school project. I had such a good time reliving precious moments that I couldn't resist posting them. I hope you will endulge me a bit.
When I was pregnant with Merrik, he loved to kick! His favorite place was up underneath my ribs ... especially at night when I was sleeping.
The first time I saw Merrik after his delivery was in the NICU. I was so worried about him and if we would be OK. The doctor told me this was just a precaution - he would be fine - but I wanted to see for myself. Boy ... did I ever see for myself! There he was, a whopping 8 pounds 12 ounces, laying flat on his back, sprawled out. Serving as bookends were two premature babies. I prayed those mothers didn’t come while I was there. I would have been so embarrassed!
In the hospital, we had Merrik circumcised. A decision I didn’t take lightly. Again, I worried about my baby. Again, the doctor assured me that he would be OK. “This is a routine procedure,” she said. When they finally brought him back to my room, I was anxious to hold him in my arms. I reached out, took Merrik from the doctor, and saw the look on his face. He didn’t cry ... he didn’t make a sound. He just sat there, staring at me, with this angry look on his face like “you did this to me.” I spent the rest of the night saying I was sorry.
As some people know (mother’s mostly, I assume) babies actually loose weight right after they are born. It’s perfectly normal and they quickly regain it soon after arriving home. Not my son. Merrik actually gained weight. It was only two ounces but when you’re expected to loose weight, it’ a pretty big deal. So big, in fact, that the nurses weighed him twice ... then told all the other nurses.
One of my favorite sayings when Merrik was a toddler, “Up me, Mommy. Up me.” He would look up at me with his hands in the air, opening and closing his little fists. So cute.
A terrifying memory: It was right after Merrik started sleeping in a toddler bed. He had outgrown his crib and was doing quite well in his “big boy bed”. One night, I was awoken to the most blood-curdling scream I have ever heard. I sat straight up trying to determine what that sound could have been. Then I heard it again. It was my child ... Merrik. Someone must be attacking him. Oh, no! Someone must of gotten into the house and is hurting my baby! I jumped out of bed and ran down the hall to his room. Merrik was on his back, eyes wide open, body stiff as a board, screaming. I grabbed him in my arms ... he must be in terrible pain. I called his name, tried to hold him close to me, rocked him. But nothing worked. His body remained rigid. His screams never subsided. My words of comfort did nothing. After what seemed like an eternity, as quickly and mysteriously as it had started, it stopped. And Merrik was fast asleep. I was later told that what Merrik experienced was called “night terrors”. The good news: Merrik would be fine. He would eventually grow out of it and remember nothing. The bad news: I would never EVER be the same again.
When Merrik learned to ride a tricycle, I would take him around the block. He would peddle, pumping his little legs, laughing, having the time of his life. Along our journey, there was a garage that looked like a barn door. Each time we passed, Merrik would exclaim, “Look Mommy! A barn, a barn!” Each and every time. And I would act surprised, as if I hadn’t seen it before.
A ritual. When Merrik went to daycare, he developed his own unique way of greeting me when I came to pick him up at the end of the day. When he saw me come through the door, he would jump up and charge at me full speed, jumping into an enormous hug. I loved it. Of course, until he kept getting bigger and heavier and still wanted to run at me full speed and jump into a hug.
Merrik’s first year in school. The local paper decided to do an article on the “little school that could”. Amazingly, or not so amazingly for anyone who has actually met Merrik, among the entire student body, the reporter found a charming young lad and chose to interview him.
Merrik was in an after school program at St. Barnabas. When I picked him up, he could be found playing games, running around, talking with other students or the adults (who, by the way, were totally enthralled with him and his conversations). One day during third grade, he was sitting with one of the teachers playing Connect Four. I started to say something but was met with a harsh “shhhhhhhh!” from onlookers. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Apparently, Merrik had been playing for almost an hour, continually beating the adult ... legitimately beating the adult. It was like he was in a trance; staring only at the game board. Placing in his pieces one-by-one. When he achieved victory, he uttered not a word. He simply pointed out his “four”, slid the lever to clear the board, and began again.
A mother’s worse nightmare. We were out at a mall. Merrik was about 10 or 11. Old enough to linger behind, giving his all to appear like he wasn’t a with me. I hadn’t realized that the gap between us had grown so great until I was outside and heard a man calling ... screaming actually ... “Miss! Miss! Is this your son?” Oh, dear God. What did he do? (Sadly, although Merrik was not one to actually “do” anything in public to warrant this response, it was the one that came to mind.) “Yes, he is.” “Well, I just had to come out and tell you what a fine, young gentleman he is. He has such good manners - something you don’t see too often anymore. I’m telling you, he’ll get far in life. You should be proud.” And, indeed, I was.