Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A miraculous birthday present.

Billy then.

Fact #1: Today is my son, Billy's 13th birthday.

Fact #2: There are over 700 schools in Toronto.

Fact #3: Of those 700 schools, only 23 of them are closed because of Sandy the Storm.

Fact #4: Of those 23 schools that are closed, one is mine and one is my son's.

Fact #5: Burger Priest in Toronto is infamous for its lunchtime lineups.

Fact #6: When Billy and I (and his sister and his friend) went to the Priest today for lunch, there was not a single person in line.

How weird is that?

On second thought, its not weird.  Its a gift. A gift for my son and a gift for me.  Or at least a reminder of the gift I was given 13 years ago today.

Every day, I drive my son to and from school, make him breakfast, lunch, and dinner, nag him about homework, nag him about practicing his drums, nag him about getting ready for his Bar Mitzvah, nag him about finding something else to do instead of watching tv/playing on his Ipad/playing video games, nag him about brushing his teeth, taking a shower, hanging up his coat, setting the table, putting his plate in the dishwasher, and doing something with his mop of hair. I do all those things because I love him so much and just want him to have the best possible life.  But I think that I've been so busy making sure that he has the perfect life, I forgot to take the time to think about the perfect person that he already was the night he was born.

The night Billy was born was the night I truly started believing in G-d.

It was 7pm on the evening of October 29th when my labour pains started.  But they didn't start slow and build gradually; they started off fast and furious, just a minute or two apart.  We rushed down to the hospital where it was determined that not only was I in labour, but that my baby was in distress.  The Doctor reassured me that everything was under control; I would still be able to deliver him normally, they would just have to keep a close eye on us.

Then my labour stopped.  I stopped having contractions.  I stopped dilating.  It all just stopped.  The Doctors and nurses couldn't figure out how I could have gone from having the world's fastest, most intense labour to no labour at all.  But I knew why.  My baby was in danger and God needed to get me to the hospital.  And as soon as we were in a safe place, it wasn't safe for me to be in labour any more.

Two hours later, my perfect little Billy was born by emergency C-section after near fetal cardiac arrest.  He was so tiny and so red. They had to whisk him away to make sure he was ok but not before I heard the nurses debating his weight.  Officially, he was 5 pounds, 15 ounces, but they declared him 6 pounds, "because he had a rough day."

They brought him back to me a little while later, and said he was as perfect as I knew he would be.

Since that first miracle on the night he was born, I have experienced so many other small miracles with Billy that there is no doubt in my mind, G-d meant for him to be my son.  And for me to be his mother.

Billy has a smile that lights up a room; every teacher he's ever had has said if it weren't for that smile, he'd drive them bananas.  He is at the same time the silliest little boy and the wisest old soul.  He'd give away every penny he has to homeless individuals if he could (he actually tried to once; he brought his personal life savings to school and tried to donate it all without our knowledge but the teacher called us because bringing a meter-high Hershey Chocolate syrup piggy bank to school seemed suspicious) but save just enough for the latest Simpsons comic, yoyo, or water balloons.  He swore off McDonalds for a year (and stuck with it) because he commented that while the food does not at all taste good, it is strangely addicting.  A thought that troubled him.  That is just one of his many deep thoughts.

At 3, he called his wrists arm ankles because he didn't know the word "wrist" yet and arm-ankle made sense.

At 7 he tried to swear off birthdays because he already knew that its better to be a kid.

At 9, he stopped being a bystander and stood up to his friends who were bullying another boy.  He lost all his friends that day.  He's never regretted his actions.

At the age of 10, he threw all of his clothing that was manufactured in South Asia away to protest child labour.

At 11, he volunteered to do the eulogy at his grandfather's funeral.

At 12, he commented that while all the other kids were so busy trying to be like everyone else, he would much rather be an individual.

At the age of 13(!) he still tells me he loves me every morning when he leaves for school, and every night, he waits for me to hug him and tell him how proud of him I am for __________________(something he did that day).

And so today, 13 years after that first miracle, I was given another.  A divine source gave me one extra, extra-special day to spend with my baby boy before he grows up.

Thank you.

Billy now.


  1. What a wonderful gift!

  2. "At 9, he stopped being a bystander and stood up to his friends who were bullying another boy. He lost all his friends that day. He's never regretted his actions."

    Amazing story. I'd be interested in speaking with you further. If you're interested, please email me at adam.grannick@moralcourage.com