Sunday May 1, 2016 is Drew Lighthall’s 21st birthday. This will be the first birthday we have to celebrate with him not here on Earth. I have been trying to prepare myself all week. I can feel my fragile wall starting to crack. I feel the tears closer and closer to the surface. I want to celebrate his life. I was so lucky to be his mother. I was blessed with this wonderful human being for 20 years. I want to rejoice that I was given the opportunity to know his kind soul to be able to know such love from him. But it’s hard. It’s hard to rejoice when all you want to do in curl into a ball and cry till there are no more tears, till there is no more emotion to let go. It is hard to not be selfish in wanting more time with him. It is hard not to look back and realize being Drew’s mother has always been hard. Why would I think his death would be any easier…

I was in labor with Drew for 70 odd hours. I pushed for 8 hours and he still did not come. I breathed, I moved to every position known to man. I did everything I could to bring him into this world. He finally graced us his presence at 6:45 p.m. by c-section. He was not happy to be taken out of his nice warm cocoon and the more people that knew he was not happy the better. I had a nurse tell me he actually tried to punch her hands away, she said I was going to have my work cut out for me with this one. Boy, was she right.

Drew never slept. If he did sleep it would be 15 min here 10 minutes there. I had never known exhaustion like that until Drew came. I was always told he would grow out of that he would sleep better when he got older. He didn’t, he was always a restless sleeper. Drew was a kid that needed to know that everyone he loved was around him. He loved to be held and talked to you. Since he was my first I had no problem holding him every chance I got. When Drew got older he still thrived when he was the center of attention. You could not do anything without hearing “Mom, watch this”..”Look at me”. The bad part was the things he wanted me to watch were usually the things that made my heart jump up into to my throat. The kid had no fears (except being alone), he had no problem scaling a fence, tree or even a house to prove he could do it. He was a hard kid.

People would tell me it was just the thrills of having a boy. They said that he would calm down when he got a sibling. He had issues acclimating to not being the center of attention. Poor Madison started having to defend herself from his “love” really early on. I would tell him that if he wasn’t so rough with her he was going to turn her mean. Sometimes with Drew he didn’t realize his own strength and his “love” would hurt. ¬†They would say that it would get easier when he started school. School was so hard for him in the beginning because he had to get up at an early hour. It was a struggle. When he got going in school we would then get notes home saying “Drew is so bright but he won’t stop visiting with his neighbors”. Once again he needed to be right in the middle everything. He wanted everyone’s attention friend, teachers, and his family. There was not a time that people did not know that Drew was in a room.

The true hard part was when Drew started middle school. It was horrible. He was used to being in the same elementary school for years. He had just left his safe zone everyone had known him. They understood his humor and all he had to do was bat those blue eyes and all his troubles would go away. That was not the case in middle school. He had such a hard time adjusting. He would get in trouble for being his regular goofball self. He then decided if they thought he was trouble he would be trouble. Man that time was hard. We fought, I yelled, he cried, I cried. If I had only known that would be so much easier than what I am dealing with now.

Drew grew out of that phase, thank goodness and was starting to come into is his own. He was starting to use his great mind for good and not mischief. He was starting to realize I was right and he was destined to do great things. How could you not be when everything was so hard. I would tell him when he would be upset about people making fun of him or some other roadblock in his way, “Nothing great can come without a little pressure. All the great things in life take work. If you don’t have the bad times you will never know the great times”. Drew taught me that even though he was hard he was so worth it. Every single worry, every single tear, every single laugh. He was worth it. If only I knew the really hard part about raising Drew was having to say goodbye to him. Now that’s hard.

I started this piece almost a week ago. I wanted to write several pieces leading up to his birthday. I couldn’t do it. I would sit at the computer and had no idea to write. I look at the clock as I am writing and it is midnight. Happy Birthday my beautiful blue eyed boy. I love you more than I can ever say and I hope and pray that you know it. That you knew it when you were here. “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you will be”.

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