My Forrest

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My Forrest is an enigma: a very special and unique riddle that must be mulled over and considered very carefully. Just whenever you think that you've arrived at the answer, it's suddenly obviously different and you must begin again. He is charming and sweet, cranky and temperamental, and fluffy and iron all bundled up in a package sealed with smiles and giggles.

He has been with me for four glorious years full of emotional soaring. He was the answer to our prayers from the beginning: a baby boy who could pass on my husband's proud family name, a little angel to fill our pink and cuddly doll filled home with trucks and cars and bring a sense of reality and balance to a young family totally engrossed in our 1 year old blossom.

Of course, our Forrest didn't come to us alone. We knew very shortly after his conception that he brought another soul with him, his twin sister Regan. No matter what order they arrived in or the manner of their arrival, we had our first-born son and we were ecstatic. Our joy was only impossibly doubled by the realization that with our son we received another daughter to pamper, but Forrest was the child we had prayed for and Regan was a joyfully adored bonus.

In the first few weeks of his life, Forrest was a colicky baby, always seeming to be sick from one infant infirmary or another. I joked my way through the time, telling everyone "He's managed to make me worry about him every day of his life so far, I may as well get used to it!"

As it turned out, Regan was afflicted with a much more serious and chronic health condition: a spinal column injury in her brain from the overdue vaginal birth of six pound twins. Her condition would manifest a mere six months after her birth, but we would have to wait three long and heart-wrenching years of watching our little angel suffer through her physical disability before the doctors would make a prognosis and decide on a course of action.

In that time, as much as we doted on her, it was her big brother who was her steadfast shoulder, her rock that she leaned on. When Regan was chemically burned with bleach while visiting her grandmother, it was Forrest who could cuddle beside her and give some peace to a aching 9 month old. When Regan would fall down crying after trying to keep up with their friends running and playing, it was Forrest who would always reach her first, helping his 2 year old darling up, wiping away the dirt and tears and bringing a smile back to her face.

Forrest would take no teasing his little sister, even at a young age, and would often have to reprimanded for beating on his toddler and pre-teen cousins for their careless remarks about his precious sister. His protectiveness hasn't lessened since Regan had her surgery, just changed as his sister is able to run and dance with the best of him.

When Forrest was a little over two years old, I had Gabriel and Elijah by c-section. Two days after I came home, I was still on strong medication from the pain and had a houseful of family and friends helping care for my older children. One member of our family was left to watch Forrest and Regan playing in the backyard, and walked inside to make herself a drink.

Forrest tried to follow her up the back steps and fell the 15 feet down to the hard packed and rock fulled Tennessee ground beneath it. He didn't cry. She didn't notice. Regan's screams of terror and sympathy woke me from my chemical and fatigue inspired sleep in my bedroom beside the back door and I dashed, confused and almost blindly to the door, where I found him laying, stunned, his head swelling and blood pouring from his mouth and nose.

I screamed for my husband and almost fell the same distance trying to get to him through the haze that had almost cleared when I saw my son laying there unmoving. Josh rescued me from falling and Forrest, it seems in the same instant and we rushed him to the emergency room, calling my mom from her room where she was watching the new twins and completely unable to speak to the woman who was supposed to be watching Forrest and Regan.

Thankfully, God protected Forrest that day, and he suffered only a mild concussion. Later his teeth turned black. The dentist says it was from the impact, which killed the baby teeth and may have scarred the permanent ones. But it's a small price to pay for my little prince's life, for which I am beyond grateful because the day could have turned out so much worse.

Next week, we will face one of the scariest days of Forrest's life, for me and Josh anyway. He has recently developed a lump on his neck that is very painful to touch and is often warm with fever, and he will go to his doctor to discover what it is. My husband, Josh, had a very similar lump on his neck whenever he was about Forrest's age and it turned out to be lymphoma and had to be surgically removed and monitored for a long time. We will pray and trust God in this, as in all things, no matter how scared we may be. We know we all are blessed beyond belief with this wonderful boy who brings life and light to whoever he meets!


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