I was a week past my due date. It was mid-June in Florida. My ankles and feet could have matched a sumo wrestler whose dinner was a little too salty.
It was a full moon.
There was a tropical storm coming.
And yet this baby girl was in no hurry.
I walked. I ate the magic eggplant parmesan. I walked some more. I tried a little glass of wine and a bubble bath. I walked again.
I did all I could to get things started.
Everything was ready. As soon as we left our gender-revealing ultrasound, we’d named her and decorated her room.
We were ready! For labor, for the baby, for parenthood.
23 hours of induced labor. Three hours of pushing. All four pages of my birth plan had gone out the window at about hour seven.
The baby was five minutes old before someone mentioned that she was a he. Oops. Big, big ultrasound oops.
From that moment on, he’s been surprising us.
When he was 18 months old, he could point out about half the United States on a map. His favorite shape was an octagon. He was absolutely fascinated by windmills.
Then he discovered trains.
Yes, there was the token Thomas the Tank here and there. When someone would ask him about his favorite engine, they would expect a short answer about Edward or Percy or maybe even Chuggington. What they got was 15 minutes of dialogue about the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 and how it compares to the Union Pacific 4-6-6-4.
Thomas episodes were quickly replaced by hours-long documentaries about Amtrak’s Sunset Limited or The Era of Steam. He could hold his own in conversations with the old pros at the Model Railroad Show.
When he was four years old, he became interested in the human body and decided he was going to learn all about it. So he did. He pored over anatomy books. When someone asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he’d answer, “A train engineer for my job and a pulmonologist as my hobby.”
He is one in a million. He has changed my life and molded me into the person I am now and will continue to change me as we each grow.
I became a mama when he was born. I became an autism research professional when he was two. I became an advocate when he was three. I became the proverbial firewalker when he was four.
There have been some long, hard days. When his little body just could not handle the barrage of sensory input. When the world was overwhelming. When every transition was so very hard.
He has pushed through. He has shown up. He has kept trying.
He has overcome so much in his ten years.
He has taught me more about love, courage, and perseverance than I even knew there was to learn.
I could have never imagined the crazy ride parenthood would take us on when we were waiting and waiting for him to get here.
I wouldn’t trade a single minute of it for anything in the world.
He was so worth the wait.