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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Happy Birthday Exalted Dark Warrior!

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.


This has to be one of my favorite pictures of us. Such a pensive glance - I knew at a young age that a fiercely independent, yet compassionate young man was emerging from that little body.

When I was carrying him, it wasn’t the same kind of pregnancy as my first baby. I did have some morning sickness. I distinctly remember riding down the highway, I believe on our way to work. We only had one car at this time and hubby was driving. We must have been right on-time and couldn’t spare the time to pull off to the side of the road. I remember opening the window so I wouldn’t mess up the interior of the car. My oldest, just 2 years old, thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen – mom with her head out of the window, sick as a dog.

As the time got closer to the due date, he still hadn’t turned. I could feel him trying to turn. He would get his head right around my waist and then turn back. The doctor said we could try a few things, but the safest thing to do would be to schedule a C-section. He would let us make the decision. I remember driving to pick up my oldest and passing one of the road side cemeteries. These were historic cemeteries that were left in their original places, but ended up being in a very strange place with civilization rising up all around it. I had driven this same road every day, but after this news, I noticed the wording on one of the headstones. A baby was buried there. That was all the sign I needed to schedule the C-section. Later we found out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder so it prevented him from fully turning.

I was able to stay home with him and my oldest when he was born for 10 months, which was a dream come true for me - being a stay at home mom. You couldn't lay this baby down during the day. He was awake, but wanted to feel the warmth of your body, so I had to keep him in the baby carrier most of the day, if I expected to get any work done. A high need baby for sure, but he was definitely worth it.

Each of my sons has their common and distinctive qualities. They are all very confident in their uniqueness. When I think of my oldest, the three words that come to mind are leader, daring and gregarious. My youngest is compassionate, compelling, and comical. My middle child is caring, loyal and diligent. His name means exalted, dark warrior. He is very intentional with his gift giving and I have seen him go to great lengths to make outings special. To my knowledge, we never went through that awkward period, when children don’t want to be around their parents or are ashamed to kiss their parents in public. They say that babies who are high-need end up being affectionate as adults. That is certainly true of him.

It delights me to hear his adult perspective on different topics. This is an age when you can view shows, topics and events that originally aired in my younger days. He seeks out my opinion, just to get my slant on it. I appreciate discussing a myriad of topics with him. One of his signature phrases is “What? That’s crazy!” Happy birthday Man!

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