So little Trevor turns a year old in just a few short hours. Seems like only yesterday that I was saying that the little guy was threatening to crawl at any moment.
He’s gone from crawling, to the “cruising” stage, where he methodically made his way (on tiny feet) through a room by grabbing chairs, leaning on walls or perhaps Daddy’s leg, to actually walking across the room without any help. His “walking confidence” is growing each and every day. He’s taking tiny steps, but either due to lack of coordination in the early going or perhaps some fear of the unknown, he typically winds up on his keester. Undaunted, he gets back up to do it all again.
This sounds like a fairly familiar process.
This will sound/read absolutely harsh, but stay with me here as I reveal that I never wanted a son.
Yes, that is correct. The father of a 1-year-old precious little boy just admitted to never believing there would be a time in his life where he would want a son to be a part of it. In fact, during Samantha’s pregnancy with Emily I was overwhelmed with gut-wrenching fear at the possibility that we were going to have a boy. The fateful day when the ultrasound was to happen, where we would learn the sex of our first baby, was a nerve-racking one, that ultimately ended with me in tears – of joy – as I learned that we were having a girl.
That was it. We were done. I was done creating any more life. There would be no more children and there would certainly be no additional Fulton boys inhabiting the planet.
What was wrong with me?
I loved my parents. In fact, I still love my parents even though they are gone, and feel blessed to have wonderful memories of my childhood, so it has nothing to do with how I was raised or anything that went on behind closed doors, so cross that off the list.
In an earlier post I revealed the harsh reality that came with being molested at the hands of some other boys when I was younger. While those horrible, ugly memories could certainly haunt me enough to have me swearing-off a whole slew of things in my life, they didn’t crush my spirit enough to have me taking an oath where I’m not ever having a male offspring.
No, it was something entirely different. It was selfish. It was pathetic. It was crippling.
It was plain old, garden variety fear.
I wet my pants once during a Little League game. I tripped on an electric cord at a seventh grade dance and unplugged the record player, bringing the party to an abrupt halt. I cried during a soccer game after giving up a goal. I had countless experiences like all of these where I was made fun of, ridiculed and taunted. Kids can be so unbelievably cruel. Popular opinion is that girls have it tougher because of the pressure to be pretty or popular, but try walking a mile in the shoes of a little boy and you will find the road lined with bullies and abusive boys who don’t think twice about making your life a living hell.
Doesn’t seem like a lot of incentive to bring yet another little boy into this world. But is it a worthwhile excuse?
I love our sweet little Emily. I adore her. But I don’t want her growing up thinking that one of the reasons I loved her so much was the fact that she wasn’t a boy. That’s just sick.
On the other hand, I could rest comfortable in the knowledge that I’d dodged a bullet and we had the child we wanted. And it was a girl. I was done. Game over. There would not be a little boy of mine whose life would be filled with the same hellish perils I’d experienced.
There was a little problem though.
By shutting it down and insisting that one kid was good enough, I’d made another person’s life a little less than fulfilled. Samantha’s.
To Sam’s amazing credit as a wonderfully supportive wife, she never bugged me one time about how much she not only wanted another baby, but how much she wanted a son. There was never any debate about having any more kids, let alone a discussion about a boy, and I had no idea of the hidden anguish I’d inflicted upon the woman I love. The tears that she cried were dissipated only by the prayers sent towards Heaven. Meanwhile, I went about my carefree, selfish life without much of a clue.
One night before bed I heard the sentence that no selfish man wants to ever hear: “I’m late.” It took all of about five seconds for the wave of fear to start building. A few agonizing days went by and I remember being in a haze, as if my world was coming to an end. Those of you who truly care for me are free to stop reading at this point and rightfully cuss my very existence. I realize the wretchedness is pretty thick at this point in the story…
Ultimately it came to pass that Samantha was not pregnant and I’d gotten my reprieve. But the scare had me thinking and praying about a lot of things during this time. Why was I so scared? Why was I running?
I played golf with Gene a few days later and I was still somewhat dazed.
I’m not a good golfer. I’m not patient enough and I don’t work on any aspect of the game with any sense of dedication, so there’s rarely improvement, but I still go out and like to take my hacks. On this particular day I was more awful than usual and found myself wandering the rough and out-of-bounds areas searching for one errant shot after another.
That’s when a funny thing started to happen.
I really started to think about life and converse with God. I saw Samantha and Emily and me, I saw the joy and the laughter and the love. I found myself transfixed by the idea that I am a part of a family that we started, that has its own unique story. That we were creating history. I found myself enthralled by family. I found myself loving Samantha more than ever with each passing thought. I discovered that I cherished my daughter Emily with every breath I took. In a span of 120 minutes, God had softened a rock-hard heart that had been 40+ years in the making.
And I started to hit the ball better too.
Once we finished playing I stopped at a sandwich place for a quick bite to eat, but rather than race home to reveal all of my euphoria to the family, I opted to first write a letter to Samantha. I picked out a card and just started to write down all of my thoughts, but more than anything I wanted to apologize to her. You see, I knew of the anguish I’d put her through, although hidden from me, her eyes often told a story where words were not required. There was a sadness. And I was responsible. I covered all of this in the card and felt elated to walk in the door with it.
But I never gave her the card.
Was I scared? Sure. Was I just emotional because we were almost pregnant? Perhaps. Was I on some sort of golfer’s high, and I was in some sort of trance-like state that had me thinking things that didn’t really exist? Nope.
When I walked though the door and received the hero’s welcome from Sam and Emily, I knew that my heart was true and that all the thoughts I’d had while hitting from the rough were all valid. But how to deliver those thoughts in a comprehensive, cohesive way to Samantha that would remove anguish?
How about lunch the next day?
I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. I was going to have an opportunity to reveal to Samantha that God had softened my heart to the point where I wanted us to try to have another baby. Sitting down at the table inside the restaurant, we sipped our iced teas and I launched into my golf story. I can still see Sam’s eyes glazing over a bit, as I’m pretty certain she just thought it was another of my sports stories. But she became much more interested as I started talking about matters of the heart. And God. And then I blurted out that I really thought I wanted us to try to have another baby, and that I was sorry for the pain I’d inflicted on her since Emily was born.
Tears. Of joy, of relief, of stunned surprise. There were tears. And audible sobbing. It was a wonderful moment for both of us, but to those in the restaurant that day it had to look as though we were breaking up and that I was a jerk, because Sam’s crying and I’m laughing. There was so much joy at that table, and just so much emotion that if society had been okay with it we might have just gone ahead and made the baby right then and there. Okay, sorry for that visual.
Happy ending, huh?
Well it doesn’t quite end there. There’s still the matter of me dealing with the possibility of having Baby Boy Fulton. But before you knew it, and before I even had the opportunity to obsess, we were pregnant again and there was tremendous joy in the Fulton household. Things seemed nice, neat and tidy. The softening of the heart had happened and we were really clicking.
But then something – actually some things – unexpected transpired.
Not to gloss over any of this because all of it is very serious subject matter that could all likely be covered on another day and in another post, but things just started to spiral for us.
I broke my ankle on a fishing trip.
I had some scary back surgery.
We experienced serious financial issues.
And we lost the baby.
Yikes. Just yikes.
Being there with Samantha through all of it was both the roughest and most rewarding months of my life. It brought us closer together, as we leaned on each other, and through tears, laughter and love we managed to survive and get pregnant again.
And then something miraculous happened yet again.
Somewhere between God softening my heart towards having another baby and the difficulty of losing that baby, the fear of having a son that had paralyzed me for so long was completely removed from me.
Seems like a huge leap, but there were so many baby steps.
I look back and see myself crawling around though life never knowing that walking is a much easier mode of transport.
On the golf course that day I started “cruising” like little Trevor was, grasping onto things for support – in this case for me, God – getting me to where I needed to be.
And there I was walking. A year ago on Halloween, as Samantha’s contractions were slowly getting closer together, we walked around the block holding hands and laughing. No fear. A son was coming. We walked into the hospital together and I was floating on air, taking steps into our bold new future. A son was on the way. I walked around the bed as Samantha bravely breathed through contractions. I held her hand and kissed her gently. Our son – Emily’s brother – was moments away.
I walked Trevor around the delivery room – his first real steps with his Daddy – and I was overwhelmed by so many things. The graciousness of our God, the love of my beautiful wife Samantha; Emily’s desire to be a big sister.
Trevor, I wish you a very Happy Birthday and want you to know that you are a serious blessing from God. Seeing you walk is nothing short of a miracle. I am so happy for the steps I took, away from fear, away from selfishness, and into the arms of God.
As a Dad I’m still “learning to walk,” so I know there will be more days when I myself will wind up on my own keester, but I’m thrilled to be your Daddy and even more honored to call you my son.
I love you Trevor.