We were posted to Kazakhstan when Aidan was born. When he was about 6 months old, we flew to the States to get him baptized. During the course of the ceremony, the priest asked what we wanted to ask of God for Aidan. We both responded at the same time: good health.
Ironic then, that he grew ill the next day. He appeared to have an ear infection of some kind, and so we took him to the doctor in nearby Cooperstown, NY. "There's something wrong with his head," she told us bluntly, "He needs to be seen by a neurologist."
And so it was that we went from having a perfectly healthy, if somewhat skinny, baby boy to having a boy we feared might die.
We flew to Washington instead of returning to Kazakhstan. Aidan was admitted to Children's Hospital in DC, where he was examined by neurologists and neurosurgeons, nutritionists and genetic disease specialists, all looking for a reason for his sickness. I wrote about it some years ago: click here if you want more details.
They were concerned about all sorts of things: his brain, his skull, his stomach... I stopped nursing him so they could measure every ounce of food he took in. They talked about feeding tubes and IV lines as they weighed and measured him every day. And through it all, I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more. I was so afraid that we were going to lose him. All around me I saw other mothers who were in the process of losing their babies: to cancer, and kidney ailments, and other awful things that were just no fair at all. So I knew, really knew, for the first time ever, that I could lose him, that there was no guarantee I'd get to see him grow up.
But we were lucky. His problem was caught in time, and he got better. We asked for good health during his baptism, and it took awhile, but we got it. He's a regular, healthy little guy now, with no idea at all how badly he frightened his mom and dad.
Still, I think about it sometimes. When I watch him sleep I remember those nights in the hospital. Whenever we return to that church in New York, and I hear the priest talk, I'm transported back to that baptism day, and I get choked up every time, remembering.
Why am I bringing this up now? Well, it's his birthday. As I decorate his cake and wrap his gifts, I am just so grateful to have him in my life. He's funny and kind, with an infectious laugh that draws people to him. He's smart, and strong, and beautiful. He's healthy, too. Thank God for that. He's healthy.
Happy birthday Aidan.