When we named you â€œChampionâ€ I envisioned that one dayâ€”say youâ€™re a teenager and the first love of your life breaks up with you. Iâ€™ll tell you your nameâ€™s meaning and how you are born to survive this heartache. Or maybe youâ€™re a college athlete and you have to sit out a season due to a small injury. Your daddy and I will encourage you to rise above because youâ€™re a champ.
I never imagined that weâ€™d be calling upon you to live up to your namesake at seven-months old. I couldnâ€™t foresee that at one-month the doctor would say that something looked odd about the dimple in your back and the ultrasound would show something â€œoffâ€ about your spinal cord.
I didnâ€™t prepare for when, at three-months old, a neurosurgeon would suggest an MRI, and that MRI would be clean. But, at four-months old Iâ€™d receive a phone call and apologyâ€”there was something abnormal after all.
At seven-months-old you, sweet boy, are dessert. You are chocolate and marshmallows and graham crackers all melted together. Youâ€”our unexpected blessingâ€”you have a smile that makes me sigh with satisfaction.
I am worried for you. I keep coming back to how itâ€™s trendy these days for families to have photos taken in front of old rugged barns, and how I donâ€™t have any recent barn-photos with you. Iâ€™ve been waiting to get this baby-weight off for those photosâ€¦as if the remnant of you on my body is something to be ashamed of. Iâ€™d have you back in the safe confines of my belly now, if I could.
Tonight, you are out of my belly and I am going against all of my motherly instincts for you. I am going to bathe you in special antibacterial soap to prepare your body for surgery, even though I know it will dry out your skin and make you itchy. Iâ€™m going to dress you in hospital pajamas and even when you cry of hunger, I am not going to feed you, because your tummy needs to be anesthesia-ready.
I will wake you up very early in the morningâ€”payback for all of the nights you have awoken meâ€”and drive you to a hospital, where Iâ€™ll release you into the hands of a strangerâ€”someone who didnâ€™t carry you in her womb. Someone who hasnâ€™t been nursing you, or wiping your bottom, or tickling your feet. She will wash her hands, lay you on a hospital bed, and wheel you away from me.
Today someone asked me what my gut is telling me.
My gut is screaming at me me to drive like a bat out of hell in the opposite direction of the hospital. Or at least handcuff myself to you so that we canâ€™t be separated. Or, come barging into the operating room vigilante-style and yell at/threaten the neurosurgeon. I donâ€™t care how it gets done, but you better do a flawless job, or else youâ€™re gonna have to deal with me.
I would love nothing more than to stand over the surgeon’s shoulders and remind him, remind him, remind him that you are my precious baby and so heâ€™d better move his hands slowly and with delicacy around your nerves, your spinal fluid and cord because I need you to be able to walk, and collect bugs, and throw rocks in lakes, and have a girlfriend who will one day break up with you, so I can remind you that you are a champion.
I will go against my instincts and hand you over without causing too much of a scene.
Your big brother asked me once if God is big enough to be in more than one place at a time. Is He big enough to be on the sun and in a mouseâ€™s mouth at once?
He is with you and at the same time, with meâ€”He is big enough for that. He will look over the doctorâ€™s shoulderâ€”and mineâ€”remind us both that you are His precious baby.
You are our champion.
I love you.