I won’t pretend to say I have a complete understanding of the true definition of the word love and its meaning. Sure, I have had many experiences in my almost 52 years of living that I have defined as love. Growing up and “feeling the love” of a good family, accepting and receiving the love of my Savior, participating in authentic friendships, marrying my ‘soul mate”, becoming a mother nine times, and a grandmother now five- all manifestations of love that have been joyous and deep. And while those categories of love have been positive, I know I have felt what I would describe as love in the negative. Those dark, deep moments in the crevices – the cracks on the journey. The neverlife of my unborn children who died in my womb, the passing on of treasured friends and relatives, the gut punch heartache of my dad’s death, the shock and toll of illnesses and accidents, misfires and begin agains, all devastating yet beautiful and tender.
Comprehending love alludes me in many ways but just when I thought I could not grasp endearments in my life any richer nor any more crushing, along came a tiny babe named Cyrus. And his magnificent existence has taught me to walk a balance beam labeled love and grief with every step. With each movement as my hips aid in rotating my leg to place my foot gently in front of the other, I strive to strike the perfect balance. We move forward each day. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot- don’t look down-right foot- don’t look to the side- left foot, right foot, straight ahead.
Eight months old today and he lives up to every inch of his moniker, “Cyrus the Brave” – I cherish him. He is a warrior like his Momma, Phoebe. He is defying all the odds. We were told to expect and prepare for the very worse, life without him. Cyrus was delivered by cesarean section at 37 weeks and four days. In utero, our family was given his diagnosis of B.O.O. (Bladder Outlet Obstruction) at 26 weeks. Life living in the hospital began for Phoebe at 30 weeks until his entry into our world. And home became the NICU for his first six weeks and three days ( but who’s counting?) that began the days of ventilators, breathing tubes, chest tubes, surgeries, two steps forward and one step back, and yet he pressed on. Often as I rocked him, I envisioned him on a beautiful golden Palomino or a brown and white Pinto, sitting tall and erect, bow and arrow in hand, storming the machines and diagnosis. And no, I am not completely crazy. I recognize that is quite an outlandish image, a baby warrior- but warrior he stands. Okay, he sits, but he will stand!
And so we live each day watching him grow, appreciating all of the moments with a presence where we are mesmerized by everything he does. We take nothing for granted and celebrate each accomplishment, every milestone, with cheers and marching parades around the house. All of us know there are no guarantees in life, no absolutes of first and last breath, but most of us find a way to trick our minds into not dwelling on the uncertainties. This balance beam my family is walking is because we know Cyrus has kidney disease and bladder issues and small but healthy lungs, yet he defies. We are not so naive as to discount different days await him, await us all. Though all it takes is one look into his clear blue eyes and catching his contagious smile and I literally shake the ominous prognosis from my thoughts and CHOOSE to be present in the moment given. So it is the balance beam we walk- ever so grateful for his miraculous days, playing hide and seek from the medical jargon, falling hard into a love, so precious. And while I have more to share about the days we have walked and the catapult that will vault us into the land of the predicted, yet unknown- I know this one truth.
Today, in this beloved moment as I write- there is a little grandson of mine named Cyrus, and he is fondly my “little puppy” and I am his “Mamie Bird”.