My son’s birthday hits me hard every year. It makes me reflective, honestly seeking out and isolating parts of myself that must improve. September 12th signifies a time to begin tackling a few stubborn, carefully chosen Goliaths in my life, because if we are all honest, we should only choose two or three to battle at a time. Kannon, by God’s design, forces me to be better and do better simply by meeting the spectacular challenges he presents hour by hour and day by day. He was born to shift perspectives and paradigms, and while change makes him uncomfortable and grouchy on a personal level, his spirit is crafted to force forward movement on those around him, assuming they don’t fall willingly into the rhythm of his current.
Anaiah was carefully planned. Ren and I lost two babies while trying for Anaiah and we were desperate to get pregnant. After I found out I was pregnant for the third time at ten weeks along, the first trimester was the longest few months of my life. I worried about every tiny thing under the sun that could go wrong. I read every book I could find on vitamins, development, folic acid and the Ferber method versus the Sears method of sleep training. I was adamantly against co-sleeping, rice cereal and formula. I was the poster child for What to Expect When You’re Expecting and homemade baby food. In short, I was the the epitome of injury prevention and had no real world knowledge under my belt. I knew nothing, but felt really good about it.
I was on birth control and breastfeeding when I got pregnant with Kannon. I didn’t go to Dr. Wang until I was between four and five months pregnant. I was sure stress and lack of sleep were responsible for my weight loss efforts tanking after having Anaiah. Ren was already not Ren anymore, our life was crumbling faster than I could glue it back together, and a baby was absolutely the last thing we needed to add to our stormy, tumultuous equation. Ren would be home some, then not at all, then come by randomly at 3am and take off with my wallet and my car… Such was our life for all of 2011 and 2012. I had no idea what was happening to my husband and, at that specific time, I didn’t have the emotional, mental or physical energy to completely attack the demons on his back as I had consistently and successfully done in the past. I was about to bring a perfect, baby boy into all of this horrible, broken mess and I was completely overwhelmed at the prospect. I had to practice saying, “I’m pregnant” out loud in front of the mirror for two weeks before I could verbalize it out without bursting into tears.
My son was scheduled to make his entrance into the world via c-section a week early. I registered my friend, Gina, to be with me at the birth because Ren was hit and miss. He ended up being there for Kannon’s entrance into the world, but left the hospital a few hours later. Kannon’s first night was spent right next to me in the hospital bed. We both fell asleep breastfeeding and there he remained, asleep snuggled next to me, until the nurse woke us both at 6 am to take our vitals. I looked around the dark, empty hospital room then down at him and thought, “It’s just us.” It was the first time I internalized the cold, hard facts that were slowly weaving in and out of life as I knew it and changing it forever. My husband was a stranger. It was Kannon, Anaiah and I. That was it. Kannon forced the three of us to turn a corner by simply entering the world. He was a catalyst for stretched limits and uncomfortable progress from birth, and continues to offer growth opportunities to all of those in his life.
The intensity of who my son is at the core matches my own, and matches the intensity of the conditions under which he was brought into this world. My intensity is quiet, simmering at my core. It is pensive and flashes are reserved for maybe ten people in the world. Kannon’s intensity burns hot and bright and loud. He is a bonfire. He’s a gorgeous ’56 Chevy with a huge, burly engine and absolutely no power-steering. He reminds me that amidst this horrific, chaotic world and weaved in the folds of the wake he creates by his simple existence, there is still magic, brilliance and wonder in leaves and caterpillars and rain. Slow down. Be quiet. Listen. Even when the demands of being a mom and a decent human and million other things are screaming about laundry, groceries, email and Haitian orphans. Those eyes. That smile. They take me amazing places when I have no choice but to stay right here for right now.
Kannon’s favorite song at six years old, besides “Jesus Loves Me,” (someone clap approvingly for me, please and thank you), is “Hurricane” by The Band of Heathens. It is so very fitting for him. He has a stubborn will of steel that makes me completely crazy but will serve him well as an adult in this world. He was born into a figurative hurricane that is seemingly impossible to navigate at times from my perspective, but he continues to surprise and encourage me by beautifully cruising in and out of tough spots seamlessly, and is only picking up steam as he rolls through life. Such a big man in a little body, struggling to get all of those emotional, mental, spiritual and physical levers balanced just right, while trying to please those directly in his path the best he can, if it fits into his agenda. This guy has an innate purpose to come in with guns blazing and shake things up. I absolutely cannot wait to meet 10-year-old, 16-year-old, 32-year-old and 55-year-old Kannon and look forward to every single twist, turn, hug, smile and side eye before, after and in between.