20 years today.
It doesn’t seem possible.
It seems the moments that matter most stay so close to the heart, like only a day has passed since that moment when Isaac was born.
He was sooo blue, having been under duress for some time, too long in delivery. His head was shaped like a little golf club. Of course they took him away quickly, but I was comforted because I knew my husband followed and would not let him out of his sight. A tender mercy, I realize now, that on our last prenatal visit to the hospital we had passed a room where they were bringing a little, blue, 32-week old newborn back to vitality. I had been so nervous for this tiny one, but the baby had been fine that day. I remembered this now and felt my baby would also be fine. And with great rejoicing still, he was. My husband brought him to me cleaned and wrapped and placed him in my arms. His cry was soo weak, as if the journey had almost been too much. And then he was contentedly quiet. I admit it seemed surprisingly the most natural thing in the world to take him, to hold him in my arms. For some reason I had thought that moment would be more gigantic, more earth-shattering, more unbelievable, to hold my firstborn. But as with love, it was gentle, and peaceful, and natural and looking back now, even more, one of the very most beautiful moments of my whole life. My son was born.
A day or so later as I was so excited to take my little newborn miracle home, my husband came to tell me the bad news. Our little one was breathing very fast and they were trying to find out why. Because I had developed a fever during delivery they felt it was probably infection. The Dr. came in not much later and told us they had seen a spot on his lungs and with his fast breathing, they knew infection was brewing. They would treat him with IV antibiotics. He would have to stay in the NICU for three days. When the Dr. left the room I started to cry, even though I fought the tears, trying to take it well. I was so blessed to feel the comfort of my husband beside me. As his arms wrapped around me he gave me the strength that I needed to face this. I knew he was there 100 percent for our son and for me.
It was the hardest thing in the world for me to leave our baby in NICU as I was checked out of the hospital. Thankfully our parents and family were soo supportive. My parents even arranged a condo near the hospital so we didn’t need to be far away and could hurry back to the hospital for feedings. Mom had placed a small cooler full to the brim with my favorite drinks, including peach nectar, to encourage nursing and caring for my body as well as our Baby’s. I remember every time we hurried back to the hospital how I could not WAIT to hold him and how I prayed sooo hard in my heart that I could be the best mother in the world to him, the mother he needed.
It was so painful to come in to the NICU and hear he had been crying (I just wanted to stay), or to come in and find that they couldn’t find another place to poke his little body so they had to put the IV in his head. EWPH. But obviously my gratitude for his life, for this amazing little man that had entered my world, an absolute miracle come from heaven, part of my husband and part of me, a brand new part of a long family line, overcame all other feelings. Wow. I felt overflowing happiness and gratitude for this greatest blessing of all blessings, our child, Isaac.
That was 20 years ago today.
Hard to believe and what a lot of wonder has happened with him in the past 20 years.
Isaac, I want you to know how pleased I am with your choices in life, your actions (sooo neat that you are serving a two year mission for the Lord right now in your 20th year – what a noble thing to be doing with your life as you just begin to embark upon adulthood), but most of all I want you to know how thrilled I am with YOU!!! I LOVE your heart, your being, who you are!! I LOVE talking to you, the way you have always taught me and the way you make me laugh. I have relied upon you heavily as the oldest child and as a dependable young man. You’ve always been my buddy as well as a young hero to me. I am so, so proud of the big brother you are and have been to now nine sisters. You have been there for our family as well as for your friends. You’ve always been wise beyond your years, with an intelligent, interested mind and a super caring heart. Best of all you have always carried a burning testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His true gospel in your heart– I know that will bless you the rest of your life with the best life you could possibly have! My dear Isaac, my son, thank you for blessing my life so richly and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!
This is the end of the brief note we received from Isaac by email this morning “Se que esta es la obra de Dios. Hoy cumpli 20 anos, y estoy tan agradecido que el Senor me dio la oportunidad de pasar 2 anos de mis 20 anos de vida serviendcole a el por tiempo completo. Amo la mision!”
Translated by his mother & grandpa: “I know that this is the work of the Lord. Today is my 20th birthday, and I am so grateful that the Lord has given me the opportunity to spend 2 of my 20 years of life serving full time! I LOVE THE MISSION!”
You can keep up with Elder Isaac Hoffman on his mission at ElderHoffman.com