Today is baby goat's "should be" 9 month birthday. If he'd been born on his due date rather than 7 weeks early he'd be turning 9 months old today and I'd be taking pictures and likely going to the doctor and countless other things.
The whole aspect of prematurity, once I've been removed from the fear and stress of it, is a lesson in "should have beens" for me. When your child is brand new and so small the should have beens are big. He should have come home when I did from the hospital. I should have had gone into labor like a normal woman. We should have had 7 more weeks to prepare the babies room - we didn't even have car seats. I shouldn't have had to go back to work before he'd even left the NICU.
When it was all fresh these should haves were like open wounds and in a way they took longer to heal than my c-section scar. But as we celebrated milestone after milestone the should have beens became real live joys. Does anyone celebrate a full feeding like the parent of a child born too young to be able to eat without a tube? Does anyone celebrate an ounce like a family watching a scale creep up day by day?
I am prone to should haves. They are a form of guilt. For example I should be cleaning, but instead I'm trying to process these thoughts, and that's ok too. I can get overwhelmed by should haves. But it is baby goat that reminds me that the should haves are so rarely what God has in mind. Baby goat came 7 weeks early, I was very sick, he was very small, and yet 10.5 months later I couldn't change a thing, even if I wanted to. So it is his should be 9 month birthday, today it doesn't matter because he is just exactly who he is regardless of how you count his age.
I have been pondering this week who baby goat will grow up to be. Will he be a musician? A scientist, lawyer or teacher? Will he be good at sports or math or both? Will he be kind, generous, loving and faithful? What will be our struggles as he is our first "tester" child?
The wounds of the should haves heal with time, so does the guilt. Baby goat is exactly who he is and instead of looking back it is time to start looking forward. Each day he is less defined by his early start and more defined simply by himself and the love he gives and receives.
It may be his 9 month "should be" birthday. But his real life 1 year birthday is less than 2 months away and countless other real milestones too.
There may be scars left from those open wounds. Scars are signs of where you've been, but after a time they do not dictate where you are going.
Happy "9 months" baby goat. Who you are is more grounding to our family than any should have been.