21 years ago today I was making Hamburger Helper in the obnoxiously-decorated-in-bright-primary-colors kitchen (what was I thinking?!) of our our shotgun style slate blue home in Pensacola, Florida. Craig had run to Blockbuster Video to get a movie for the night. I was about one week overdue with our first child.
We never got to eat the Cheeseburger Macaroni flavored dinner or watch the movie.
In the wee hours of December 1st, 1991....around 2am....our first son was born.
Zachary Patrick came into our lives after a long drug free labor, several hours of pushing and then ultimately a c-section. That whole night is a blur for me....up until they said "It's a boy!" and I heard him cry. Then Craig and I cried too. There was a rush of emotion that I can never adequately describe in the written or spoken word. It was overwhelming, big, amazing, scary, palpable, breathtaking, paralyzing, joyful, humbling, frightening, incredible..... It was just indescribable.
What I also can't describe is the love we felt for this little 7lb 10oz human being with sweet blue eyes. It was a feeling we had never experienced before and would only happen 3 more times in our lives.
I don't remember who said this,
but there really are places in the heart you don't even know exist
until you love a child.
Zack turns 21 tomorrow. Sigh. It is so hard to believe! Sometimes those 21 years seemed to have crept by at a snail's pace (like when he was a colicky baby or a grumpy 13 year old!) and yet, looking back it feels like just yesterday I held him in my arms for the first time.
The huge-ness of the love...........oh my.
Zack was a sweet baby who dealt with 14 ear infections in the first year of his life. There were many sleepless nights spent at ERs. He has ear tubes on this 1st birthday....what a great gift!
He learned as a young baby to have strength and tolerance and courage.
Zack was a smart toddler who talked fluently and adult like at a very young age. He knew how to give directions in a car to someone, point out and name all 50 states and read sight words by age 4.
He learned as a little dude to have a thirst for knowledge and learning.
Zack was given his first guitar at age13. It was his Grandma's guitar that she had played for many, many years. He was excited about the guitar but grumbled at the thought of lessons and practiced the assigned lessons with attitude. But, in the quiet of his room or the basement he played songs he liked, searched the internet for guitar tabs and picked the strings....constantly.... as he had discovered a passion.
He learned as a young teen that finding a passion in life can be something to carry you through good and bad times.....and can end up being something you share with the world.
Today Zack is a man. He is someone we love more than words can express.
He is still someone we would step in front of a truck for. He is still someone we would allow to fail even if it hurts our souls to see because we know it is what will make him a better person. He is still that little boy who sang "The Wheels on the Bus" a zillion times in the car with us. He is still that guy who drove us crazy with the teenage caveman grunt answers to every question.
But, as a man, he is much more.
He is someone we admire. He is a guy who is strong in his faith. He is an honorable dude. He is a thoughtful human being. He is one of our 4 biggest blessings in this life.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous.
It is to decide, forever, to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
Yep. Our children are those places in our heart that we didn't know existed before, outside of our bodies.....4 little chunks of our hearts strolling around life.
One piece of our heart is......
walking around downtown Madison on campus gaining new knowledge every day, singing and playing guitar for mission teams in West Virginia, being a loyal, fun friend to many, and loving others deeply and genuinely like God intended him to.
May you feel some kind of HUGE love that is indescribable in your life.
May you be grateful for the passions, thirst for learning and
joy that others can bring.
May you recognize that the pieces of your heart that may be walking around
are another piece of the big puzzle called LOVE.
Happy Birthday Zachary Patrick Stevens.
You are loved & blessed.
Always and All Ways.