I Loved you 1st

A quick trip down memory lane led me to a find a little picture that brought back so many feelings. Scared, anxious, nervous, ready, surreal, a sense of peace, all could be used to describe the woman that I saw. Although I have to be honest, the feeling that I don’t want to admit is insecurity. 
6 yrs of being a slave to the scale, the daily pursuit to fit into a mold that sucked the life out of me, all vanished when those two little pink lines showed up. I watched my body ballon with 70lbs. 70 lbs more then I could handle and had begun to live in shame at the new physique that cradled precious life.

An unrealistic hope that I would not have to go a day or minute past my due date soon was squashed. Even though I watched my body grow and grow and grow I had somehow lucked out with not a SINGLE stretch mark. That was until 40 wks and 1 day gestation…the next 4 days made up for the 40 wks and 70 lbs that hadn’t seen a stretch mark.

Maybe my early morning runs with my first born brought me to those sacred feelings a first time momma experiences. Cayden and I have been training for the upcoming local 1/2 marathon. He has a goal that he is wanting to achieve and it’s all centered around Ezzy. I remember the day he told me he wanted to run it. At first my reaction was, “well, let’s maybe just train for 1/2 of the 1/2”. Hearing the defeat in his voice after his mother foolishly voiced her unbelief in his ability made me back peddle fast. I turned around and looked him in the eyes and said “if you really want to do this, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and it won’t be easy, but if you want to do it, I will train you, because I believe in you”. He settled his body back into his seat, nodded his head and returned with the most firm “ok” I had heard his little 8 yr old self say. 


For the last few wks we have gotten up at 5:30 am. We set out our running clothes and make sure that we walk as if there are land mines all over, ensuring the grumpy non morning people don’t wake up to early. We whisper, something that only the 2 of us possess can manage to do, aside from the rest of the family and quickly stumble out the door to the fresh air. There is no need to give him space, let him take a certain amount of breaths before he can think or speak. No, my son is just like me. Rising early in the mornings is special. There is a restful yet excited spirit that wakes early in the mornings. Anticipation of the day looms in the air, but the weight of the morning light or lack there of in Alaska’s spring doesn’t hold us back. There have been some very serious talks in the first 20 minutes of our mornings.


Thanks to the current psychotic weather, snowmaggedon 2017, we have been relegated to start our training indoors. The 1/2 track has become the giant that we face and even though there have been grumbles about how many laps it takes to run a mile, 12.5 to be exact, we rise and set out to reach the goal he has set before him. 


A momma with her little man comes and walks the track in the mornings. The little guy is maybe 20 months and they walk together, he loves to play chicken with us, but it has never bothered me unlike the walkers who refuse to move to the side when we run by… this momma, she was me not too long ago, yet feels like forever ago. I she her messy bun hair, sweatshirt that hides the never ending postpartum body, the tired eyes, the heavy breaths when the little guy acts up, but most of all I see her survival spirit. Something every first time mom all of a sudden realizes was within her all along even though she didn’t know it until she had to use it.

Cayden rocked my world. His birth that refuted what doctors said may never happen should have been a sign to my perfectionist heart that the road ahead was not going to be black and white, stay in the lines, or clean. My entry into motherhood was messy, and that’s a nice way of putting it.

Poor Cayden had a momma that thought she was ready. Just to find out that trying to live and be a functioning member of society, while nursing a baby every 1.5 hours 24/7 was really hard. The scariest thing was realizing I really didn’t know myself, that I didn’t know how to be a mom, even though I had a stellar example my whole life.

That survival mode I see this mom at the gym have. I realized I am still in it…
I had no idea that when I brought my first born home, 4 other little souls would show up every other year.


Just when it felt like I had found my rhythm, created a schedule that allowed me to still be relevant and acknowledge his growing needs as the oldest, a new life would show up. 


“Hold on, I need to go nurse the baby, can you get a diaper, can you find a binky, hold your sister, read her a story, no I can’t come into your class and volunteer every week like so and so’s mom, sorry I forgot…” those phrases have uttered my mouth more times then I want to admit. Quite frankly if I had to sit and tally them now, I would spiral out of control that would be fueled with guilt.


Cayden has been the trial baby, in a sense. We have learned through failure and thank God some success with him. 

Even though he came into a family that was young and immature and not really ready to be parents, he came in loved more then anything. 


We didn’t have much and made a massive move in the first few months of his life. I would soon find out what post partuem depression was after living in the constant sunshine just to be surrounded by the constant doom and gloom of Ketchikan fall. There might have been a few days where his little head got a mini shower from the tears that fell as he slept on my chest. 2 yrs later he would again witness his mom unravel as we lived at Ronald McDonald’s house. 2 years later he would find out what it would be like to get pushed aside too many times as I cared for his little sisters, 2 yrs later…2 yrs later…


Cayden has seen the worst, the best, the hidden, the easy, the hard, the stuff that could possible send him to therapy one day…getting real here friends

What I hope he remembers the most is that I loved him first.


He was the first little baby to say mamma, the first soul to love me with abandon, the first little toes to witness walking for the first time, the first preschooler, the first sleepover, the first hunting partner. His list of being the first just keeps going.

Recently on a drive home from the gym he showed me just how fast he is growing up. He asked me something I was not ready to answer. “Mom, lungs are hard to get, right?” I had a brief second to gather myself, realizing the talk was entering waters I didn’t want to wade in. A simple yes was my response. No need to muddy the waters with dirt that didn’t need to be there. “Mom, is that why Ezzy will die, because she won’t be able to get lungs?”…

Breath held, eyes locked on the road, heart beating loudly…could he hear it?

“Son, that is why we work SO hard at doing her therapies, it’s why we are careful when she is sick or other people are sick, it’s why we do all those things, because we want to keep her lungs healthy”

A stop sign came up just in time, I looked over, knowing there were no cars behind me and saw my little man rapidly blinking away the tears that were forming in his eyes.

Death the realness of it is something our family has walked through the last 2 yrs. Loosing people unexpectedly has left a mark on all of us.

Since that drive, I have seen a new tenderness in him with Ezzy. He doesn’t throw a big fit anymore like he use towhen Ezzy has to move in temporarily due to a sick little sister’s cough.  Yes, I know that I post pictures of a sweet loving supportive family, but I don’t share the huge life lessen moments, the ones that are messy, the ones that take more of me on my knees with a Jesus then letting my carnal nature lose. Cayden is all boy, testosterone oozes from him and many times I tell him to go take a lap around the block because the girls and I have reached our quota of him. He is sarcastic just like his daddy, he is super smart and uses those things against his naive little sisters more then he should. I realize it is all normal stuff, but goodness he just does me in on an almost daily basis.


Yet, when I am choosing to look at him with Christ like eyes, I can see the little man that has the world at his feet. God put an insane determination within him. Case in point, do you know any other third grade boys who willingly get up early and run five miles on an indoor track (62.5 laps)? God also put strong desire to fight for justice, something that can drive me nuts when he wants to play Law and Order in our home. But if I see him through Christ’s eyes I see a man that will go after the hard things and do them because he is motivated out of genuine love and care. I will see a man who will fight for the weak, a man who will defend those who need strength on their side. I will see a man who is willing to listen to his discernment and ask the hard questions even if it means it’s something he doesn’t want to hear.


Today William Cayden Harney is 9 yrs old. He has spent 1/2 of his at home years with us. Something super hard to swallow, yet as I get to rise and spend the early mornings with him I find excitement in his future. I don’t know what the Lord has planned for him and even though every boy dreams of a career in the military I truly believe that if he wanted to be a Marine, Army Ranger, or Navy Seal, nothing will stop him.

Happy birthday Cayden, I loved you first and you will forever hold a very special place in my heart, my one and only son.

2 thoughts on “I Loved you 1st”

  1. Sarah, what a treasure you have written for him to read later in life and cherish. Like I’ve said before you have such a talent for the written word. All of your children will love these stories. I hope you know how special they are❤

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