The Our Child
There we were, standing in our room and he said “This is what I want.”
I stood a few feet a part and asked, “Are you sure?” and he confirmed that this is what he really wanted. We stood together, we smiled and we hugged. It was the moment that a glimmering thought would eventually turn to a gift of reality. It did not take long. Within three weeks, I was pregnant.
After my brief, freak out moment that filled me with fear; I calmed my senses with the help of my husband and we celebrated with the children. I will never forget the ten little, yet wide eyes that was accompanied by jumps and hugs in the air. Allen and I were going to have a baby and then I realized we were all going to have a baby.
We were fortunate enough to bring Julian into our lives in 2004 and he came to be the solidifying force in our family. To us, he was the youngest child in our family of eight. To others he was referred to as something else.
I never heard the term, until Julian was born. It sounded so cold, as though it was a description of an object and not a person. I came to realize, quickly, that this healthy, beautiful newborn baby boy would not escape the need for the world to categorize. There he was. He was almost six pounds and every bit of him seemed perfect. He was viewed as my son, my husband’s son, and a sibling to our other children. To others he was a half-sibling and the “our” child.
Julian was born with these two titles of “half” and “our” and with that came a difference that caused him unhappiness. When we decided to have a child, we never considered this difference from his siblings. He was not like our other children who had other parents and another home; he had only one home and one set of parents. As many children everywhere enjoy having one home and one set of parents, this living arrangement, ironically, caused him great pain.
Julian refers to all of his siblings as “the guys.” When the guys were at their other homes, Julian would cry of a loneliness that could not be extinguished by our continuous loving attention and giving him quality alone time. It was as though a portion of him left with the guys and he did not feel whole. He always waited for his guys to come back home.
This broke our hearts to feel his suffering on the days his guys were not sleeping in the rooms next to him. He would feel the silence of the night, as his sibling’s bedroom doors were not opening and shutting, as they did when they were home. He would wake up wondering if this was a day he would see his guys or have to realize that he had to wait another day or two.
My husband and I were committed to making those days a priority to not get caught up in the realities of life; we knew the only reality to focus on was the loneliness that took up space in the heart of Julian. We would sit at a smaller table for dinner and not at the large table that would be surrounded by empty chairs. We played games, walked, swam, went in the garden, read and took many, many bike rides.
His guys would call him when they were away and the hugs that he received when they returned was as though they had not seen each other in years. This same sensation of longing to be together also seeped into our other children toward each other. On the days we were all together, it was a day of celebration of family and it still is. Because of the inevitable separation, there was and still is no time for petty arguments because soon separation will be here. On the days we are together, we celebrate family because one child reminded us constantly that being together was the most important thing to feeling complete.
It eventually came to me the beauty of the titles Julian was given at birth. Julian is actually “our” child; he is our family’s child that created the force to celebrate the time we get to all be together, even if it is only “half” the time.
With Love……Ivy L.