Before I had kids, there were two things that annoyed me about parents.
1. Describing their child’s age in months.
2. Being proud of them for something everyone learns how to do, like clap their hands, or walk.
I don’t know why those things bothered me, but they did. I would roll my eyes as one of my Facebook friends went on and on about how their little darling learned to roll over, and how damn proud they were of them. Duh, have you ever met an adult that couldn’t roll over?
Then, I had Sydney. And, I was proud of her from the moment she took her first breath.
I was proud of her when she passed the newborn hearing screening, I was proud of her for not screaming when they checked her blood sugar, I was proud of her for looking so cute in her car seat.
I was proud to call her mine. I’m still proud of that fact, and of everything she has done up to this point in her life.
Then, Jack came along, and my pride became even more microscopic. Even more detailed. Even more tedious.
I’m proud of every single breath he takes at a rhythmic pace.
I’m proud of every single oxygen atom that brings his total to 100%.
I’m proud of his right kidney, which is working so hard to pee for two.
I’m proud of all five of his small fingers on his little hand for moving and growing and persevering to be used.
I’m proud of his sweet, sweet heart that was sliced open and patched up and recovered so well.
This is why parents are proud. Newborns know nothing. Even healthy newborns start from the beginning, learning absolutely everything it takes to survive in our world. Sometimes babies, like Jackson, need help doing even the most basic of things, and when they succeed, it’s the most magical of moments.
To see Jackson’s breathing rate consistently stay in the normal range makes me want to cry. I can’t tear my eyes away from the number on the screen sometimes. I marvel at it. It’s beautiful to watch.
41. 46. 52. 44. Gorgeous.
I am proud of him now, and I always will be. Every breath he takes for the rest of his life is a reminder that there was a time when he scared me. When his breathing– just that simple, mundane act– was a source of pain, frustration, and worry.
Parents take nothing their children do for granted. Everything from breathing to walking to talking to coloring to climbing trees to riding a bike to mastering their multiplication tables to learning from their mistakes; we are proud of it all.
Even the silly, most mundane things, like turning oxygen into carbon dioxide. I am so proud of that.
I’m a mom.