December 5, 2009
My Day of "Firsts"
I've been relishing in finally enjoying several "firsts" as a mother. They've been a long time coming (my son is almost 5 years old), and I am just amazingly thankful.
Today was a huge one. My son accidentally pulled a bowl of water off the counter onto his head and the heavy bowl also landed on his foot and hurt. So not only did he have the surprise water on his head, but he also had the trauma of a painful toe. In the past, when something like this happened, he would literally come unglued, but was not be able to cry. He would run around the house like a wild animal with high-pitched whines, but would not allow me to get close to him and comfort him. Talk about heartbreaking as his Mother. I mean, I am his Mother. He is not adopted. But he was premature and was pretty much separated from me for the first four months of his life.
I know a man who was a surviving twin preemie who once told me that he always thought he was adopted and even questioned his parents numerous times growing up. For some reason he felt adopted, and has had to work through a lot of issues being premature.
So here I am an adoptee, who can "understand" my son, my only blood relative whom I have ever had the privilege of living life with. Yet I know I don't "get" everything he has gone through, by a long shot. Not only was he separated from his Mother at birth, but he also endured many painful medical procedures with a very under-developed nervous system on top of it. I can't even imagine. His little body is not able to regulate as well as most kids, and it affects every aspect of his life, including his emotions, communication, and movement.
The best way I can describe it is like one of those Jim Carey movies in which everything about him is exagerated. When Andrew talks, it is either extremely soft, or extremely loud. To know where his body is in space, he pushes too heavy on things, so even playing with kids on the playground can be a challenge. My emotions over the past five years have taken a beating too. Many babies born as small as he was, either don't make it, or live with severe disabilities ~ they may not be able to see, hear, talk, or walk. And he can do all these. So every milestone he accomplishes is a miracle to us. No matter how late.
Of course, it's a whole other story needing to constantly explain these issues to others as I am chasing my son through the mall, or reminding him for the umpteenth time to keep his hands to himself on the playground, or not to yell at his playmates (or parents). The big one last year was trying to convince his teacher that I'm not a horrible parent for letting him still drink from a bottle. It was not fun. But she has not had the pleasure of five years of feeding aversion, either. I'm just thankful he drinks Pediasure ~ no matter HOW he gets it down. Bottle or no bottle. At least he's finally eating, so maybe he'll be weaned BEFORE kindergarten afterall. lol No wonder I'm so tired.
I say all this to emphasize how very special today's experience was ~ after my son pulled the bowl off the cabinet and experienced this double-trauma of getting all wet AND a sore toe, guess what he did? He ran as fast as he could to me, jumped into my arms, wrapped his whole body around me and CRIED. I was able to comfort him and rock him and he could actually feel it. He wasn't running from me.
I can't tell you the pain of running after your hurting child and not being able to comfort him. Knowing he is suffering more than you, but not able to trust you. So, needless to say, today was beyond words for me. Finally seeing years of therapy, patience, and hope making a difference. I live for these moments and everyday I see one little thing here, or another there, that makes me almost explode with gratitude and amazement over my son's inner beauty, strength and perseverance. He is overcoming so much. Sometimes, just out of the blue, he'll say "Love you, Mom." I literally melt.
Thank you, God, for NEVER giving up on us and helping me NEVER give up on my son, myself, or my family.