October 3rd, 2013 at 3:03 p.m., Jackson Reed made his entrance into his world. After nine months of not being able to drink coke, constant heartburn, and tinkling on myself too
many times to count, I had a short labor of 8.5 hours. I started pushing around 1:30 p.m. Blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t even begin to describe pregnancy or child birth.
The first night after he was born was a whirlwind. Family and friends came to visit and kept Jack cuddled up while I rested. I was so exhausted I couldn’t eat, but when I would try to sleep, all I wanted was to hold Jack. Honestly, I was kinda obsessed with him. He was so squishy and cuddly.
My jaundiced little squish and I got to go home on a Saturday. I was scared to death driving in the car now that I had him in the backseat. Actually, I was scared to death of the world. He was so small, I was afraid of anything and everything of hurting him. For the first time in my life, I was responsible for someone other than myself. His life was literally in my hands. That’s scary as shit for anyone, but at 19? FUCK.
Week one of having my little pumpkin home was absolutely terrifying. Every single time I would try to go to sleep, my mind would spin and I thought I heard Jackson crying. So, I would run to him to make sure he was okay, and even though he was, I would pick him up and hold him until we both fell asleep on the couch. Honestly, I spoiled him.
We got through our first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Holidays finally had a meaning to me again. Since my father died, I hated celebrating any holiday, it hurt too much. But that first Thanksgiving, thankful didn’t come close to how I was feeling. I had my whole world in my arms.
Jack has always been an early learner. Pretty much as soon as he started crawling, he started sprinting. Nine months old and he was going up and down the stairs on his own, running (and tripping) down the hallways. And as much as I tried to get him saying “mama” first, he was screaming “dada” for a solid two weeks before he would even stutter my name.
The summer after Alex and I married we took our first beach trip as a family. Jack was not too keen on the ocean or sand, but let me tell you, this boy could stay all day in the swimming pool if I would have let him. He splashed and played and had the absolute best time. He may have been born in the fall, but this boy is a summer baby down to the core. I may have a swimmer on my hands.
His first birthday was the most stressed I have ever been. I cried and cried. Of course I was happy. It was my baby’s first birthday. But HELLO, MY BABY’S FIRST BIRTHDAY. Absolutely yes I cried.
In November when his dad left for Basic Training, Jack was all I had. Yes, I had my family and Alex’s family, but they weren’t OUR family. The three of us were it. Jackson and I became closer than ever, if that was even possible. He became sick shortly after Alex left. We spent a lot of weeks at home, fighting through Hand Foot and Mouth disease, and the flu. Jack’s vocabulary excelled for a one year old. I literally sat and talked to him all day, as if he were a tiny adult.
Jack was by far the smartest kid in his daycare class. He loved school and all his friends. He was the big brother of everyone. He loved learning, people, singing, reading, dancing. Jack was the rockstar of his group.
Within the next year we did a lot of traveling, moving, and meeting new people. Georgia
was our biggest adventure. After moving to a new state, starting a new daycare, and making new friends, Jack had to watch his parents separate. And he took it like a champ. When we got our townhouse, Jack set up his new room and helped decorate. He loved our new space. Deep down I know he knew it’s what we needed.
We spent our first Christmas alone at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. It was the most relaxing, beautiful day. The weather was perfect and there wasn’t any crowding. It was perfect. That is, until we left, when I took a wrong exit and took us three hours in the wrong direction. Don’t ask how, because I genuinely don’t have a good answer for how I managed that.
January was a tough month. My surgery kept me down and depressed for a while, but Jack had my back through it all. Though his spunky attitude kept me on toes and aggravated a good portion of the time, he let me know he loves me, which is all I could ask for.
When we moved back to Tennessee in March, of course Jack missed his daddy, but he was a trooper through it all. New houses, daycares, and people didn’t scare my little man. He’s like his momma, he loves new adventures.
Terrible twos is an understatement. The attitude is for real. I want to pull my hair out most of the time. Jackson argues, screams, stomps, and cries for days. It’s annoying honestly. He’s stubborn as hell and drives me crazy. I’ve never met a child as strong willed as my own son. He’s more independent than most four and five year olds I know.
But he’s so sweet. Jack loves hard. He cares about everyone. He can’t stand to see anyone cry. If there’s something he can do to make someone feel better, he does it. He laughs until he can’t breathe. He runs, skips, plays, and jumps. He gets caught up in books for hours, and loves to play pretend. The tears and sass don’t hold half as much meaning as the kisses and cuddles. I’ve been blessed with a beautiful and intelligent child. His outgoing personality keeps me laughing and smiling, even in my worst moments.
Three years down, baby boy. A lifetime more to go.