Happy Sweet 16 to ‘MacDonald the Younger’
Next week, my youngest son will celebrate his 16th birthday. It’s hard to believe that so much has occurred in his young life.
He has experienced the heartache of living with a bleeding disorder, and has often been paralyzed by his fear of needles. He has undergone 16 surgeries to place and remove port-a-caths, faced complications from internal bleeds that sometimes leave him unable to walk, and endured many lengthy hospitalizations.
Despite his struggles, my stinky boy has remained strong and hopeful that the chaos of hemophilia will pass. His continued optimism inspires us as we stay by his side to help relieve doubt and pain. My son continues to remind the family that our primary source of strength is our ability to overcome any obstacle together. He reminds us that our faith rests in the bedrock of the relationships we share, and nothing can overpower us if we remember the love of family.
I am convinced that his strength made itself known at the beginning of his life. My wife and I tossed around several names for “MacDonald the Younger” and settled on Caeleb. We added an extra “e” to set him apart from other boys with the same name.
His name came from a figure in the Hebrew Bible who proved a mighty warrior for the Hebrew people as they approached the land of Canaan. Caleb had a reputation for strength and speaking the truth. His unwavering faith and loyalty to Joshua and the other leaders did not go unnoticed.
Caeleb’s strength revealed itself the night he made his presence known. Under strict bed rest, my wife remained in the hospital due to complications during the last month of her pregnancy. Her water broke at 36 weeks.
A nurse explained that our son couldn’t stay with us immediately after birth, as he would most likely suffer respiratory distress and require oxygen. I thanked her for preparing us for complications and offered a short prayer that all would go well.
As the medical team prepped my wife for surgery, I looked to a chair in her hospital room and noticed that she had a Bible open. The verse highlighted took my breath away. The scripture read, “But I’ll bring my servant Caleb into the land that he explored, and his descendants will possess it because he has a different spirit, and he has remained true to me” (Numbers 14:24 CEB).
I began to weep as I felt a sense of peace come over me. Given the message of hope that sat right before my eyes, I knew that all would be well with my boy.
After his birth, doctors immediately carried him away to treat any respiratory distress. Within 10 minutes, a nurse led me back to meet my stinky, wonderful, beautiful son. She explained that he was a fighter, and did not need any help breathing independently. I smiled, remembering the Biblical text open in my wife’s room.
The heavenly message calmed my spirit, and my boy’s name proved accurate as he battled against the ravages of internal bleeding. His strength has withstood the complications of chronic pain, continuous infusions, limited mobility, and isolation from his school friends. He has won every battle, proving that hemophilia cannot overwhelm him.
The most vital asset that MacDonald the Younger brought to our family was the realization that hope and love can conquer any enemy. Determination finds its resources in a family, and if we remember to access the waters of truth, we can beat any obstacle in our way.
I give thanks this week for my miracle baby, Caeleb, the mighty warrior.
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