"See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert." (Isaiah 43:19)My little boy is twelve today. Twelve years ago this morning I was still getting over the shock of 9/11 on a hot spring day. I was itching my entire over-heated body covered in a PUPPS rash, smelling of pine and tar from a medicated bath and waiting, hoping, that today was the day. I'd already waited a few years for this baby miracle. A few more hours wouldn't make much difference. Except for the itch. And no one likes to smell of pine and tar.
Sure enough, I was soon in labour and in hospital. Finally, late that night after more pain and more effort than I'd like to remember, our boy was born, a bonny 8 lb 15 oz. I was exhausted and in shock so didn't sleep at all that night although our Sam Jesse did in between dozy feeds. The next day he was fractious...a word I'd never heard before but quickly understood. A fractious baby. And within 12 hours, he was taken to the neonatal unit due to a high temperature. "He's just hot," was my desperate mother's cry, unwilling to let him go. I was told that with babies a high temperature is a serious matter as an infection could very quickly turn nasty. The nurses encouraged me to get some sleep, because the doctors had to run some tests, he would be on antibiotics and a drip as a precaution and I wouldn't be needed for four hours until his next feed.
I wouldn't be needed for four hours. My baby boy didn't need me?
By morning the baby blues had kicked in along with my milk, and I remember my GP (LMC) visited and tried to reassure me. I was full to bursting with emotion and milk for my baby boy who didn't need me.
For a couple of days Paul and I would go down and see our settled baby in the unit and were almost embarrassed to see our giant boy amongst all the tiny pre-term infants. But I was heartbroken at the same time, only able to hold him for feeds which he didn't need because he was being fed intravenously, while we waited for the test results to confirm what was wrong with him.
A friend from our church came to visit us, unaware that Sam was in the unit. She put her hands on me and prayed and I think that was my first experience of feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit wash over me like a bubble bath. I tingled from head to toe and I felt covered in love and peace. I knew at that moment, our little boy was special. He was certainly appointed for something. Paul told me later that while he was holding Sam that first night and looking into his son's intensely perceptive and all-seeing eyes, God spoke to him: "this is no ordinary child" (Hebrews 11:23).
The test results came back and showed that Sam was just dehydrated. Straight away he was back in my arms and I was feeding him properly and not long after we took him home. My wee Sam, dressed in his blue woollen cardigan, hat and booties. My boy who needed me.
Fast forward twelve years and my boy still needs me. But I am learning to let go of him again. He needs me less. And as much as my instinct is to protect him, uphold him, stand up for him, speak for him, encourage him...he is actually able to do all of this for himself.
My boy is special. He is not ordinary. I have written about the song that plays from my girls' hearts recently and I did not mention Sam's song. I neglected him on purpose, still protecting him. He is older and I want to be careful about the fact his peers might discover this blog and read about him. Even though my words and intention are only ever to honour him, I won't write much about him and soon enough I will write less about the girls too. I respect their privacy.
But my boy is special and there is a song in his heart. It is a song which captivates and entrances the listener. You cannot help but get caught up in Sam's song. Actually, it's not a song at all. Music and Sam don't get along so I need a different metaphor.
It's a poem.
There is a poem in Sam's heart; an epic poem in the style of Beowulf or The Iliad. It's a poem with heroes and villains, pathos and excitement, voyages and journeys, written with rich vocabulary, beautiful cadences and predictable rhythm. And just like an ancient poem, we don't always understand it, but we get carried away with it. We listen with interest and vitality and never want the poem to end.
It's a poem that makes us all love to learn and to see things from a new perspective. It's a poem that made the story of Titanic seem so fresh and so important that an entire school held a moment's silence on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. It's a poem that makes us all know more about trains than we ever knew we needed to know and a poem that has us looking at disasters from an entirely human perspective. I still can't say the word Tangiwai without my own "weeping waters" beginning to overflow. Sam's is a poem that makes us care for animals and little creatures and create imaginary games for the tinies. It's a poem that has turned my lounge into a city of Lego. A poem that has made my entire family Lego mad. It's a poem that brings to life Harry Potter, The Hobbit and yacht races.
Sam recently won the senior speech trophy at his school. Last year he shared it with another girl for first place and this year he won it outright. On the weekend he went to the cluster finals with his speech and despite the fact the impromptu topic was "clothes" ("worst topic EVER Mum") he was brilliant and was selected to represent Inglewood in Hawera in November along with 5 other students. Sam's speech is part of his poem and part of what makes him special. It's what he does...he feels strongly about something and tells a story. He has the ability to captivate his audience with his conviction and intensity, not to mention a plethora of fascinating details and information. I am incredibly proud of him. Moreover, I am thrilled for his sake that he has this ability. He can speak with strength and power. He will go far and he will take others with him.
So he really doesn't need me much anymore, at least not to speak for him. He can certainly do that for himself.
Sam will come across many people in his life who simply do not get the poem in his heart and will not listen to him. But for those of us who do, our life is richer for it.
Kia kaha Sam. You are no ordinary child, but we will not hide you away in our over-protective basket. We will give you back to God and watch with interest as he leads you, with gratitude in our hearts that we get to watch.