Monday, October 19, 2015

Not the son I never had


Today is Ben's bris, the ritual circumcision performed on the eighth day of a baby's life. It's happening at a local temple, where we'll be surrounded by family and friends. Ben will also formally be named (his full name is Benjamin). In case you're not familiar with a bris, the baby gets a little bit of sugary wine to keep him calm. It is not traditional for the mom to down a shot of Scotch to sedate herself, although the thought has crossed my mind.

While I can't say I'm exactly looking forward to it—brises that do not involve my own flesh and blood still make me cry—at the same time I appreciate that it's happening.

This is the bris we never had with Max.

Dave and I are experiencing a lot of never-hads with the arrival of Ben.

Last Monday was the birth we never had with Max. Tuesday was newborn day two we never had with Max. Newborn day three and day four and day five and day six and day seven were also days we never had with Max.

Friday, Dave and I had a first pediatrician visit with Ben that we never had with Max.

Last week, Dave hung an "It's a boy!" balloon in front of the house that we never did with Max, when we came home without him as he stayed in the NICU.

These early days with Ben are the early days we never got to enjoy with Max. My maternity leave with Max was filled with trips to specialists, anxiety and tears.

But then, Max. Although we could not have envisioned it when Max was a baby, we couldn't have gotten a better kid. This boy is amazingly good-natured, cheerful, sweet, empathetic, funny, curious, bright and so much more. He wakes me up in the morning with a kiss. He's always asking if I'm happy. He regularly leaned over to my belly throughout the pregnancy to tell the baby "I love you!" As we were eating dinner last week, Max looked at me, said "Thank you!" and pointed to Ben. MELT.

Max may have his challenges because of the stroke and cerebral palsy. Yet one thing is for sure: He is a great kid in his own right, just as I expect Ben to be—and not the son I never had.

15 comments:

  1. I can't help crying. I'm happy for you all.

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  2. HUGE love for you, this post, these words .. .and take the whiskey xxxx

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  3. Ellen and Dave - we completely relate. I always say that Gavin paved the way and made me a much better, more selfless Mom than I ever would have been without him. When Brian came along less than a year and a half later, everything he did naturally seemed miraculous. We appreciated every tiny little thing - from nursing well to burping easily to sitting up... I could go on and on. Brian's birth was the best thing that ever happened to Gavin... and Gavin's birth was the best thing that ever happened to us. I can't wait to watch the relationship grow and blossom between your children!!!! So happy for you.

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  4. I know exactly what you mean, but on the other hand, as the mother of three (one who has autism) I can tell you that every child is the child you never had before. While "normal' seems so normal when you've had such an abnormal experience with the other, you'll still find that they all find some way to drive you up the wall.

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  5. Beautiful post. So happy for you all. xoxo

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  6. Ellen....
    Well done. That is all I--a writer who spends way too much time expressing herself with words--is going to say. Well done!! I love this post!! And speaking of writing, I had better get back to work.... ;)
    Love you later, Raelyn

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  7. Max strikes me as phlegmatic-sanguine. Phlegmatic-sanguines are good-natured, gentle, peacekeepers and family-oriented. Anyone with a PhlegSan in their life is very fortunate to have them. I don't know Ben's temperament, so I'll keep guessing--and do it rather persistently!

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  8. You have two handsome sons and one beautiful daughter. Did you have all these feelings with Sabrina or are they amplified because Max and Ben are both boys?

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    1. Kathryn A....
      Honestly? I was wondering the same exact thing!! Sons and daughters may be different for obvious reasons.... But certainly Ellen experienced all of the above thoughts/feelings/emotions after Sabrina was born, as well.... ;)
      Love you later, Raelyn

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    2. That is a good question. I kinda get it but at the same time, why are you even taking time to write such posts Ellen (the day 2 one also). You've had Sabrina since Max, you're older and wiser....surely you know these comparisons are worthless. Each kid is different....not news. You all have a new baby. Just be in the moment of that. And congratulations!

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  9. I've been following your photos on Facebook, Ellen, and am so happy for your whole family. What a joyous time in all your lives!!! :)

    Melissa | So About What I Said

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  10. Congrats on the birth of your beautiful son! Thank you for sharing your story. I have followed your blog for a while. My eldest son is 10 and has down syndrome. I also have a "typical" son who is 6. I have always, always thought about a 3rd child, but in some ways I am scared to roll the dice again. I adore my eldest, he is our pride and joy. But the world and society are often the hardest parts of having a child with special needs, and I think that has been what has held me back from jumping into the baby game again. Whether rational or hormonal, I think about taking that leap again every day. I just turned 40 and I know my doctor would shake her head at my odds. I so appreciate your honesty in your journey to Ben, sharing the hopes and the fears. Even though the birth of my eldest was a while ago, those memories and initial fears are still raw in some ways. It isn't the DS that concerns me, it is just when you walk this path as a mother, your eyes get opened to all the possibilities, and there are never anymore blissfully unaware and worry free pregnancies. Thank you for touching on those moments as you have chronicled your journey. Best to you and your family!

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  11. so happy for all of you and your wonderful family. xoxoxoxoxoxo

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Thanks for sharing!



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