He proved to be a surprise from the beginning and he continues to be, even now.
Over 24 years ago, my husband and I decided our family was complete. We had two sweet little daughters and were happy with our life the way it was. A unit of four. Even numbers. We fit neatly and nicely in a restaurant booth. I had two hands which could hold two little hands safely when we crossed the street.
And then….surprise. I found out I was pregnant with our third child. We recalculated. Readjusted. Readied ourselves to become a family of five.
At my scheduled sonogram, we strained to see if we could determine the sex of our unborn child. But back then, sonograms weren’t as refined as they are now. A strong, beating heart was visible and we could determine a head and body but as the technician rotated her wand over and over the bottom half of our child, we couldn’t see any gender determining ‘parts.’
So we naturally assumed we were having another girl. Three of a kind. It fit with our family history because I was the youngest of three girls and my husband was the youngest of three boys. We were so confident our child was another sugar and spice and everything nice little sweetheart that we only chose a girl’s name for our soon to be newborn.
Awakened at dawn with substantial labor pains, we happily trotted off to the hospital leaving our two angels sleeping and in the good hands of my parents, who had traveled half-way across the country to care for the girls while hubby and I got down to the serious business of birthing.
This was my third child, I had pre-determined that labor would not be difficult. “I’ll just pop this little one out in no time,” I thought. Surprise. Labor seemed to drag on and on and on! At one point, I seriously wondered if this child wanted to be born. Finally after more hours of labor than it took for my second child, medical personnel wheeled me into the delivery room.
A healthy nine pound baby emerged. Surprise! “It’s a boy!” my doctor announced. Puzzled, I think I asked, “WHAT???”
Reassured by my husband that indeed I had just given birth to a baby boy, a son, I distinctly remember remarking, “Oh, he doesn’t have a NAME!”
Surprise. We bantered boys’ names back and forth for most of the day while Unnamed Baby Boy slept in our arms. And then….surprise again. My dad, who never offered much advice unless you asked for it, suggested a name. Not just a first name, but a full name – first and middle – and it was a good, sound, strong name. And so, Baby Boy was named by his maternal grandfather.
My little guy, this little fellow, who surprised us so when he was born on this day 24 years ago and is now a fully grown, independent adult, has never stopped surprising us.
Over the years, our son has surprised us with so many aspects of his life. Born of parents who had no particularly stellar athletic prowess, our son thrived in the world of sports – soccer, baseball, basketball, track and field. He determinedly gave his all and excelled, even setting track records at his high school and earning a championship finals medal.
Academically, he also surprised us. After a few years of elementary school report cards that only evaluated students with vague ‘grades’ such as M’s (meeting expectations) and E’s (exceeding expectations), our son attended a new school when we moved back to the homeland shortly before his fifth grade year.
When he brought home his first report card with letter grades based on percentages, he surprised even himself. He earned all A’s and remarked, “Mom, I didn’t know I was so smart!”
And surprise… that academic trend continued. Our son astonished us when he graduated first in his high school class as valedictorian, making the grandfather, who named him and had graduated from the same high school 68 years previously, so very proud. Deciding early to only apply to one college, which also happened to be difficult to get into, and being accepted shouldn’t have surprised us, but it did.
Our son has the zaniest sense of humor, another surprising aspect. He literally makes everyone in our family howl with laughter. Whether it is doing a believable yet hysterical impersonation of a dinosaur on the loose or arriving home at Christmas time wearing a tacky red sweater festooned with jingle bells and candy canes, he always makes us laugh, loudly and soundly. Aristotle once said, “The secret to humor is surprise.” Our son understands this philosophy well.
But even more surprising is our son’s character. Oh, we struggled with the same teenage angst that all parents and sons endure as he tried to assert his independence. I vividly recall the day in his college years that he firmly explained to me that I should not call him “my baby” any longer because he was a man. I remember feeling a little angry, a bit hurt, but soon I realized he was right and that surprised me.
Our son has always amazed us with two vital traits – his respect for us (his parents), for others, and also for himself, and his utmost love for God. Strong in his faith and loyal to family and friends, our son tries to be a friend to all. I truly believe he strives diligently to be a man after God’s own heart.
So this year, his 24th year of life as of today, our son has surprised us yet again by announcing he is ready to become a husband. What didn’t surprise us was his choice, a lovely young woman who he soon will take for a wife.
Happy Birthday, my beloved son. When God gave you to us to complete our family of five, He blessed us immeasurably. I love you and I’m so proud of the man of integrity you have become. Thank you for the joy, the fun, the laughter, and all of the surprises you have given us. No doubt, more surprises are yet to come.
This post on your birthday, this wonderful day in my book of Opportunity, is my way of surprising you!
“There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.” ~ Charles Morgan
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