Happy Birthday Co

Dearest Cohen,

I watched you drift asleep the other night. Your body was covered in a thick white duvet and your eyes fluttered… you had played hard and now you were exhausted. You had married the day and you were tireless in your exploration of new experiences. You told me to stop staring, but much like a sparkle in the distance, I could not deny those hazel eyes. I brushed your hair and pulled your head on my lap.

The first time those eyes met mine was nine years ago. The nurse whispered in my ear

Mackenzie, you have to keep pushing.

I had tried. Tried. I stared at my nineteen year old body in the hospital mirror and told myself to keep going. I was on hour thirty. I hadn’t eaten. No sleep. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. I was frantically asking what I was doing wrong. If someone would just tell me how to get this baby out I would.

You were lodged and no one knew. It was 2 AM and I could hear the nurses talking amongst themselves.

She’ll need an emergency C-Section. No one can endure thirty plus hours of labor. She’s too small. She’s so young.

I touched my tense belly. You were distressed. I knew it before the nurses did. I breathed the oxygen in the mask around my face… and let my head hit the pillow. The Pitocin had made you stressed. Cohen, I was so tired. I had been pushing for almost ten hours and no progress was made. I wanted to do it all right.

Your doctor came into the room deep into the night. Her eyes glazed.

Mackenzie, you have made no progress. Your baby is turned around and we will need to physically turn him and then have you start all over. Are you ready to do this?
Mackenzie, are you ready to do this?

I nodded.

I don’t remember the next forty-five minutes. I just knew I wasn’t there to try. I was there to overcome. Cohen, I wasn’t going to have you any other way. Right there… when no one believed I could. You didn’t know this but I fought tirelessly. I reached into something deep inside of me and wanted to prove them all wrong. It was a war.

Screams. Blood curdling baby screams.

You were here.

I did it.

You did it…

Cohen, I remember everyone around me sobbing. I remember you were met with such love and adoration the moment your eyes met the florescent lights there in that Catholic hospital at an hour encroaching on morning. I remember I laid my head back heavy on the pillow. My eyes were wet with hot tears. I wasn’t crying because I was happy… I was crying because I had never done something so courageous in my life.

You were the first severely courageous thing I had ever done. In my entire life.

Being a parent isn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to life.

Everyone stared at you. They gawked. They were full of joy and smiled. You were the prize.

Can I be honest Cohen? I wasn’t ready to meet you.

I had dreaded our encounter ever since I found out I was pregnant at a house party nine months earlier. You were unexpected.

I wasn’t ready.

And then they brought you to me. I froze. Time froze. Everything froze.

And then everyone left. I stared at you. I watched the way you nursed so efficiently. I watched the way you fit perfectly into my arms.

I watched.

I too was a child. And you were entrusted to me. I smiled. I couldn’t wait to fall in love with you. Cohen, I wanted to fall in love with you.

And here I sit. Nine years later. I stare at a young man who has made me a better woman. I am in love. Fiercly.

Cohen, you fight for the weak. You praise and fight for justice. You love what is good. You don’t give yourself flippantly. Your heart is intentional. You hold your brother’s hand when he is scared. I have spent hours deep in the night wondering why I was ever entrusted to a boy who challenges me to be a better woman.

Cohen, you have made me a better woman.

Happy ninth birthday my precious first born. I love our late night talks about things that are deep and meaningful. I love that you question everything.

“Mom, what is war? Mom, why do people hurt each other? Mom, do you believe in magic?”

I love that you spend hours meticulously building and creating. I love that you are rarely affectionate…but when you are, I know you mean it. I know when you grab my hand and kiss my lips you are being intentional.

I love the way you rub my back in the middle of the night and whisper “I had a bad dream, mom.”

Those hazel eyes meet mine. The way they did nine years ago.

Yes, we’re going to be ok Cohen.

I know mom, you always make things ok.

There. You fall asleep swiftly. I kiss the top of your head and rock you back and forth.

Happy Birthday Cohen. I am honored I was entrusted to be your mother. I won’t be perfect. I’m still growing up with you. But know this… my world was made complete the moment I stared into your big hazel eyes.

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