Thursday, November 4, 2010

Do you see him now?

My babies are growing up. At what seems like an alarming rate, especially when a new milestone is reached. Like when Jack started forming sentences, it felt like one minute he was fussing something incoherent from his carseat, and the very next moment he was saying 'Mama, Ja go hooooome'. I remember turning into our neighborhood, hearing it for the first time, taking my foot off the gas, and shaking my head in wonder. Obviously, this is not new to me, but it catches me off-guard just the same. Of course, as parents, we are blessed to get to watch them grow, change, and learn. It is a joy and a beautiful gift to see them go from teenie little beings to walking, talking, opinion-having, personality-driven people. But this loud, crackly-voiced reminder that he is growing causes me to take pause, get a little misty over the fact that he is no longer a baby, and look back at how he's changed.

Jack turning two is another occasion that left me shaking my head in wonder. It didn't quite hit me on his actual birthday. Jeremiah was gone and set to come home the very next day, and the kids had Halloween celebrations at school I was busy preparing for. We did have a mini-party for Jack at the park with just our family. Cupcakes, play, and a little present, and Jack was just giddy. This boy really loves to be celebrated, something he didn't show us as much last year. Then Jeremiah came home- I am pretty sure Jack considered that his 'big present'. This boy absolutely loves his daddy!

But now a week after his birthday, and I sit here this morning in awe of the fact that my son is the boy that he is. 'He is going to be a giant' is what our pediatrician told us yesterday. The boy who had a very questionable future, whose growth and development was up in the air, and who seemed dependent upon surgery and constant medication before birth in order to just live......and now we are told he'll be a giant! Yesterday, as I juggled the 4 kids into the doctor's office and was trying to keep the 2 little ones content, I slumped in the chair exhausted after Jack walked up to a family, rifled through THEIR diaper bag, and pulled out a toy. I apologized when I saw what he was doing and grabbed his hand and led him back to where I was sitting, tired and a little spent. And then they called us back and did their measurements- which put him around the 85th percentile for weight and 97th for height. It was like God lovingly put his hands on my cheeks, turned my face towards my son, and whispered "Look at this boy now. Do you see him? Do you remember the worry? And look at him now."

We were at a corn maze this weekend and I met a lovely family. The dad used to be in the Navy, and the mom stayed at home with her 4 children. What I first noticed was that their youngest was not in a regular ol' Graco stroller, but a specially designed stroller that was more like a wheelchair. After talking to her for a while, she introduced me to her daughter Eva. Eva was 2 years old, like Jack, and has been diagnosed with Trisomy 13. We learned that Jack and Eva see the same cardiologist and geneticist...small world in North FL! This beautiful little girl was a living, breathing, smiling miracle. She was not expected to survive more than a day or so after birth due to neurological malformation and severe heart defects. But she did. And she is almost 2. She is blind and deaf but was smiling a beautiful smile for her mama as she lay cradled in her arms. She has 3 older siblings that love on her and, I am sure, learn about compassion, love, and miracles, every day that they spend with their little sister. I was talking to this mom, who was clearly exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually, and I could not keep the tears from spilling onto my cheeks. I am sure this family has days that they think will break them. I cannot imagine the angusih that mother suffers, knowing that each day might be her last with her baby girl. But all I saw in front of me was love. It was amazing. And it reminded me of the first days of Jack's life and where he was.

Each day is a gift. A gift He uses to show us love and beauty, to teach our hearts a thing or two. We don't know the kind of path we will walk, but we know there will be bumps, there will be turns, and there will be falls that cause us heartache. And I also know that I won't walk it alone. And I need to revel in all of the beauty that I see, whenever I see it. It is worth stopping for. It is worth celebrating. And when all we can see is despair, we need to look harder, because somewhere in it all is His beauty. Beauty and love. I am sure that Eva's mom has gained so much from her little's girls life. I know I have from Jack's. He is my little reminder that He will surprise us, He will see us through it, and He wants us to to stop and breathe in the beauty while it is right here in front of us. And He wants our hearts to be changed from the challenges.

The next time my little boy decides to color on the walls, or I catch him shoveling oreos into his mouth while hiding in his room, I will remember the whisper I heard yesterday.

"Look at this boy now. Do you see him? Do you remember the worry? And look at him now."


Anonymous said...

Shan, this brought tears to my eyes (and cheeks)! You are such an amazing mom and woman. I, too, know that everyday is a gift!

I love you and your little family and am blessed to know you and your wonderful children!


The Mommy said...

You have a beautiful family and a story with a happy ending, I'm sure!

Thanks for stopping by my place.

As a side note, there was a couple who had a son born with Trisomy 18 and they made a video montage of his life - 99 Balloons. It was beautiful. I'm sure if you search YouTube, you'll find. Just be sure to have your tissues!

Kara said...

Hey there-

I happened across your guest post on Summer Jo's blog, and I gotta say I really love your perspectives! I come from a family with a strong military background, and I really appreciate your thoughts. I love the statement you made about loving his job -- and allowing that to make the hard spots possible. Love it!

Keep writing. :)

Parsons family said...

Wiping away tears!


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