Thursday, September 04, 2008

Our Mr. "J", Justin Bennett


My blog has been an amazing way to document our lives for our children and their children to read and enjoy in future years. I wish that the world of online blogging existed 23 years ago so that I could have kept this record of our lives in the same way for Justin as I have been able to do for the DD. Oh sure, I could have done it in a diary or a journal but quite honestly I was never very good at that. I think that part of the allure of blogging for me is the feedback received through comments of family and friends that read the blog. It is awesome to read the affirmations and perspectives on what you have written. There have even been times that you all have kicked me in the ass with a comment when I have neglected my blog for too long ;0)

The subject of my post today is my first and only born child, Justin Bennett. Justin was born on Halloween Day 1984 at 2:42 pm to be exact; right in the middle of One Life to Live. Actually, I could have cared less what time that he was born; just that he was born healthy. I had experienced a wonderful pregnancy; a total breeze in fact. I loved being pregnant with him and could never understand why so many women complain during their pregnancies. Of course, that should have keyed me into the fact that I would have a really tough birth and of course I did. I actually went into labor on October 30th and was in labor a few hours before my ex husband and I left for the hospital. After arriving at the hospital it took another 14 hours of very difficult labor and then a emergency C-Section to bring Justin into the world. He had been in fetal distress and was in trouble. Back then they used to put you under anesthesia for a c-section and when I came to I was absolutely convinced that Justin had not made it. When my folks and Justin's dad brought me a Polaroid pic of him, I told them that they were lying to me as I really thought that he was gone. He did not look like I thought he would look so I thought that they had shown me the picture of another newborn. Of course, they had not done that and I understood that after the fog cleared a bit.

I brought him home about a week later. That was definitely "back in the day" as now they would keep you in the hospital about 20 minutes if they were allowed to. I was a 23 year old, wet behind the ears mom but boy was I a happy mom. I loved being a mother to Justin. It just felt right and I did and do adore him.

Justin was a really easy baby. He slept through the night from 6 weeks old. Not only that but I actually had to wake him or he would naturally sleep until about 10 am every day; amazing! He met every milestone easily and with no delays and he was always eager to meet his next challenge. He loved his block, Lego's, trucks and coloring. He was a fast learner right from the beginning and from the time that he could talk the kiddo would try to negotiate with me. I should have known then that he would be an attorney. Boy that kid could talk and he still is a great communicator. Other mothers would ask me why I allowed him to continually try to get his way and I told them there were certain things that were non-negotiable and others that were. I knew the difference and I felt it important that he be able to use his powers of persuasion. That is definitely his strong suit.

Justin loved school starting in preschool and then showed signs during Kindergarten that he was not being challenged properly. The administration of the elementary school immediately moved him up to what was called pre first at the time. He followed that same teacher to first grade; she identified Justin as Gifted and he tested into the program. Justin always loved school in elementary and by the time he left 5th grade he walked out the door with both of our arms full of awards. He entered Middle school and continued to do well. Unfortunately, during his last year of middle school I divorced his father and that put his life into a great deal of emotional turmoil. I tried to wait until the best time possible but there is no best time and unfortunately he would experience pain that I did not want him to go through. There would be lots of ups and downs with his dad after that and more turmoil for him. This always has saddened me greatly and I know it is point of great sadness for him as well.

Fortunately, for him and for me, Marc came into our lives a few short months after our split. Marc has always taken the role of mentor and never tried to replace the father who was absent in his life. The roll of father came naturally over the course of years between them. Marc was there, through thick and thin through high school, college and beyond. Justin had his share of drama growing up as we all do but he was an amazingly good son through it all and Marc was solid as a rock for both of us.

Justin and I are strikingly similar in many aspects. We are both smart, stubborn as heck and emotional. We both love to laugh and can laugh at the silliest things imaginable. It seems that we have the same funny bone. We both have very strong opinions and that should be no surprise as we come from a long line of people on my dad's side that can find a reason to debate almost any subject. Speaking of my dad, he and my mom have been a tremendous part of his life and he loves and respects them to the utmost. He loves spending time with them and makes lots of opportunities to do so.

Justin is very reasonable and will listen to your side of things and weigh it out before making a final decision. He always tries to do the right thing. There are times that he is still a bit selfish in his thinking as many 23 year old men are ;-) but all in all he will see the error in his ways and make it right.

He is amazing with the Dynamic Duo. They respect him as if he was a third parent. I can see him as a wonderful parent in the future and we trust him so much in that department that he is our chosen guardian for the children in the event of our untimely death.

As you can see, I am very proud of our Mr. J.

Justin has found the love of his life in the bright and beautiful Judith. She is good for him. They balance each other out quite well and nurture each other in a very special way. I also love that Judy brings out aspects in Justin's personality that have never been exercised in the past. They bring out the best in each other and that is what marriage should be.

I truly believe that the most difficult years of parenthood for me thus far certainly have been the letting go of my oldest son. He has a new life with Judy and I am overjoyed for him. I have to be honest here and say that I miss his presence in my daily life so very much. He and I are very close but now he is a man and I am a mom who would never stand in the way of what I wanted for him when he was just a dream in my heart and mind; to be self sufficient, strong and to make his own way in life. He is doing just that and quite well I might add.

There are so many memories and so many stories from my Mr. J's life just like there are in all of our lives. I can still see the 2 year old boy always saying "I can do it myself", and the 5 year old going off to Kindergarten for the first time, the 6 year old playing t-ball, the 10 year old spending hours drawing pictures and playing with his friends, the 12 year old playing basketball and video games, the 14 year old struggling with a changing family, the 16 year old driving for the first time and entering an expedited program in school to graduate from high school with his associates degree in college at the same time, the 21 year old graduating from University of Florida and three days later traveling to China to adopt his 13 month old sister, Katie Starr, the 22 year old entering Law School and now the 23 year old engaged and carving out a new life for himself.

Through it all my pride has been immense, my heart has been full and my love for him knows no condition. I love you Justin.


12 comments:

Candy said...

Beautiful post! I'm lost for words.

Justin, you have a Wonderful Mom. It's no wonder you are the son that you are.

We5Chois said...

Lori,

You are the most incredible Mama and it shows through in your writing and your children's personalities. Each one of them is special and unique.

Justin is a wonderful young man who is an absolute credit to you and Marc. Watching him interact with his young siblings, you and Marc,Judy, his grandparents and the parents and friends of the FCC, it is obvious to all that he has an incredible and loving heart. It is an honor to know him. You have every right to be proud of him. I hope my children are half as incredible when they are 23.
Love you guys

Diana said...

WOW!!!
Your son is a amazing man and you have every right to be VERY proud of him!!! This was a BEAUTIFUL post written from the heart. As a mom of 2 boys I pray that they make the right choices in life as your son has and still is making. Parenting is the hardest job you can ever have and you have done a wonderful job (3 times:).
Thanks for sharing this post with us and Congratulations Justin in ALL that you have done in 23 years!

Vivian M said...

What an amazing post and testament of your love and pride for your exceptional son! (and Marc too).
I hope they both read this. :o)

Tammie said...

Lori,

You are truly amazing. Becoming a mom at such a young age, & 23 was young for many of our generation, you had an instinct on how to help Justin become the man he is today. You "knew" that you needed to allow him to learn things that many parents still have problems with - knowing how to make decisions, allowing him to not only have his own opinions, but how to voice them.

Justin is an amazing man because he had amazing parents.

I only hope that I can learn from your example.

Dawn said...

Ya know, I really didn't need to ball my eyes out so early in the morning!

Justin is lovely but you have to take the credit that is due to you.

love me

Michelle said...

Amazingly Awesome Justin and momma!

tumbleintodreams said...

I loved reading about Justin and your earlier life! Mark and I married in 1984 and Lauren was born in 1986, so I'm right there with you obstetrically......LOL!

Gail said...

What a beautiful heartfelt post Lori...I'm quite sure that Justin is just like his momma in many ways. I know you must be so very proud of him. Also loved reading about Justin as a little boy. My son Nicholas(Nick) who is now 23 was born in March of 1985, I was 25 and then divorced 1 year later from my ex-husband. (Not a fun time of my life, but got through if with much support from friends and family.)Anyway, great post!!!

Carol and Taylor said...

God I hope T turns out 1/2 as well as your Justin has. He sounds like a wonderful man. Hmmm, do I foresee a future Judge in your family? Sounds like he has all the makings to be a good one, if that's ever his interest.

Kind regards,

JO said...

I did not know I was so amazing, I love you mom

Minouche said...

what a beautiful testimonial to your son! ;o)) I am sure he will cherish this post forever! :o) How special for a mom to write so beautifully about her son! ;O) Justin seems to be a wonderful person, and I am sure that you firm guidance and dedication to him has a big influence on this outcome! :o) good job, mama! :O))