Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Big Test

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to babysit for my niece’s first child, a three month old girl. She had a corporate meeting in the area and had just returned to work two weeks ago. It was an exciting opportunity to get to enjoy this baby and take care of her, even if only for a short time. I say exciting because, not only haven’t there been any babies in the family since Dear Son, but with everything that went on from the day Dear Son was born, it was as if I never really got the opportunity to simply enjoy my baby.

I was amazed at how easy things came for her. Looking in the direction of a sound, smiling and interacting in general with everyone who was there. The Grandma came by, the Great Grandma stopped by along with several other relatives. She was happy and interactive. I couldn’t help but contrast this with my own Dear Son. Nothing came easy for him. Not only didn’t anything come easy for him but he really didn't achieve any milestones in his first year of life. His first year was spent in the hospital, having multiple EEGs, on steroids to control the seizures as well as a variety of medications. Other than when he was on the ACTH therapy, he never really cried. (You can read more about his first year here in a post called, "Don't Hate Me Because I Am Beautiful.")

I spoke with Dear Son about the arrival of the baby the day before they came to visit. I told him that when he got home from school, the baby would be here. I was curious as to how he would react with another child in the house, specifically a baby. Would he be jealous? Would he be worried in some way? After last week’s incident with the hospital bed, I just wasn’t sure.

He arrived home from school and loved seeing the baby. He was excited everyone was there. His Grandma, who is the baby’s Great Grandma was there, as were his Aunt and Cousin. He was happy to see everyone. I put him in his rocker after school and asked if he wanted to hold the baby. Of course, he can’t really hold the baby but I held the baby on top of his arms. He looked at the baby and gave her his best grin. I asked if he wanted to kiss the baby (Dear Son can’t really kiss-he simply gives you a quick lick with his tongue due to his issues.) He couldn’t reach her face so he gave her a soft head bump for a kiss. I was surprised at how gentle he was although I did tell him to be gentle. I told him how proud I was that he gave her a kiss. They left soon after that.

Later that evening, when I tucked him into bed, I told him what a great thing he did that day. I told him he would have made a great “big brother”. I explained that his father and I loved kids and that we wanted to have more children however I thought that he (Dear Son) was going to need his Mommy’s help and that I didn’t think it would be a good idea. I said I needed to take care of him and what a pleasure it was to do so. I told him how proud I was of him today for taking such good care of the baby and kissing her. Dear Son smiled and I kissed and hugged him good night.

As I left the room, I realized that I had succeeded. Many years ago, when Dear Son was quite young, I was asked what I wanted for his future. I said that I wanted him to feel good about who he was, to be able to give and receive love. I thought this was especially important in light of his disabilities.

For most parents, the test of how well they did comes when their child hits a major milestone: graduates from college, marries a nice person, etc. But for me, the test came this week. And Dear Son, he passed with flying colors. Sometimes your children surprise you. And today, my Dear Son made me proud.


Kath said...

I continue to marvel at what a wonderful person..and are. Dear Son is so very fortunate to have you as his mommy.

Thanks for sharing yet another wonderful story with us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Son *did* hit a milestone his first year... the most important one, I may add -- he was loved!

Anonymous said...

You never cease to amaze me with your are a gift to us. Thanks for sharing your world.

jennifer said...

Dear Son is indeed amazing, as are you!

Jo said...

And you made me cry. Sweet words from a loving mom to a beautiful boy who has fulfilled his mother's dreams for him.

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