As we were loading everything into the shed yesterday at the farm I had a realization. Ian’s life has been a series of seconds where I am holding my breathe waiting for everything to be okay.
30 seconds. His birth. C-sections are usually jovial and noisy with the surgeon and nurses laughing and talking. I had already had two, so I knew the procedure well. Ian’s was different. Everything was fine… and then silence. The doctor and nurses sped up their pace and no one spoke. I felt the air being sucked out of the room. I didn’t even ask what was wrong because I knew that only something serious would focus an entire room of people that way. What felt like hours was really only minutes. The true danger was only seconds. They brought him to me and then swept him out of the room, never explaining. Only later, when nurses kept coming in to the recovery room to congratulate Andy on the miracle, did I hear that Ian should not have survived. His umbilical cord was not only wrapped around his neck several times, but was tied in four knots. The doctor came in to ask my permission to preserve the cord and possibly write an article about the birth. I knew I should be truly shaken, but I felt more like I was standing in the middle of a tornado watching the trucks and cows spin around me while I sat safely in the eye.
Ian has no fear. He seems to know that God saved him for some higher purpose and he lives like prisoner freed from a darkened cell. His laughter is infectious and common, and his trust is….breathtaking. Literally.
15 seconds. The time it takes my heart to start when he jumps into a pool, never having swam before, and fights his way to the top. He grabs the side, pulls himself out, and with the biggest, most beautiful grin… jumps in again.
5 seconds. The time it takes Andy to pull Ian out of the way of a rather large and unhappy rattlesnake. Ian, furious at a shaking Andy for making him leave, complains that he just wanted to see it.
So yesterday as I hear the words that usually precede these heart wrenching moments, “Momma look!”, I inhale deeply before turning. Ian is performing a show of stunt riding on his little four-wheeler for his brothers, looking at them instead of where he is going. Instantly, a flash of the future steals my vision.
“Ladies and gentlemen, up next is Ian Hopper from north Texas riding the bull aptly named Killer. No one has ever ridden this bull for the full 8 seconds, will he?!”
The house is progressing well. The roof is going on, and we can precariously climb onto the second floor now. We will meet with the cabinet maker in two weeks, and the plumber and electrician are about to begin.
I am confident now that both cows are pregnant. I find myself in awe of them as their bellies grow in the blazing heat. I could never have survived pregnancy outside in the sweltering air, eating nothing but grass. They have become more like dogs, coming up to the fence when we arrive to greet us. You can see their eyes searching to see if I have brought the beloved bread bag for a treat. Our dog Missy has taken to being my cow defender. She can be completely out of sight, but if I walk into the pasture, she is immediately at my side warning the cows to keep a safe distance. They seem to believe her threat and only eat out of my hand when the gate is separating us. I wonder what Missy’s response would be if she understood that I was trying to get close enough to touch them. She is hindering my progress, but then again maybe she knows something I don’t….