Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not Seven, but Eight!

I'm late with everything lately.

My life feels so very small and simple, yet I'm continually, embarrassingly behind.

I am assured it is "part of the age and stage" of having young children--a thing that, on one hand I feel as though I am bound to endure, and on the other I never want to leave.  But as long as I am here in the land of little ones needing my everything, and a life that needs all I have left, I hope you will be understanding when manners, important tasks, and accomplishment happens on a schedule not conducive with the pace of life.

Aw, the sweet victory of being the giver of your child's favorite birthday gift.  I scored!

That said, I would like to start off a new year of blogging by wishing my beautiful first born son, Charlie, a very happy 8th birthday.

Every year before Charlie's birthday, we start prepping him.  "Now you are six, but soon you will be seven!"  He really struggles with memory when a concept doesn't make a lot of sense to him.  It's not a big deal, but when you are a kid folks tend to ask your age, and it's nice to answer accurately.  When you're a grown up, you can answer any way you like.  This has worked better than others some years. He never was receptive to being six, and stayed five for two years, then magically became seven.  I thought he might be seven for another year as he was unreceptive to having a birthday at all this year.  He was insistent that he would not have a birthday.  Angry about it, even.  Finally we just stopped talking about it.

Well, on the big day I made sure to show up at school with a cookie. I said, "Here's a cookie!  Happy Birthday!"  That seemed to be the right approach. "It's my birthday?" he said. "Hooray!"

We came home and had a very small party with Grandparents and brothers and mom and dad and a bunch of presents that had arrived by mail.  He was comfortable, happy, and proud to be Eight.


Charlie is doing so well.  He has become increasingly comfortable at school, and also is trying new experiences with less trepidation.  He just has a confidence now that was not there before.

Charlie is a caring, empathetic individual.  He loves to be helpful, and often comes to us to ask, "Can I help you?"  He has the ability to read a situation and behave appropriately, but also the ability to be mischievous and know it.

He is creative.  He plays in a way that reminds me of my sister and I growing up with lots of imagining, role playing, building, and creating.  It is the kind of child's play that gets me excited, and is wonderful to behold.  A privilege.

I know I say this all the time, but before Down syndrome, we had all these ideas of what our child would become.  It seemed as soon as we heard, "It's a boy!", we started unconsciously constructing what our boy's life could attain.  If someone would have pointed that out to us we would have instantly been ashamed, because it really was not our intention.  Well, someone did.  Charlie did.

Not so fast, he said. You don't have to know or plan my future.  Just do your best, mom and dad.  Trust God.  It will all be okay. 

Oh what I would have given back then to see what I do now.  (Well, maybe.  Some things may have scarred the socks off of me.)

Next month will be our "Down syn-aversery", the day we learned our baby boy had Down syndrome.  That was the day we stopped guessing or planning the future for our kids, and started letting them show us who they are created to be.  I wish I could say we accepted that shift with grace and decorum.  We didn't.  We were a bit of a mess for a while before we settled in.  Eight years later, the simple reality is everyday with this boy makes me feel like I was chosen for something I could never have attained to or deserved.

You are the boy who anchored the boat and sparked a family.  

Eight years of blessing represented in this picture (little brothers not to be excluded!).
Eight years we could never have forced or planned on our own.

Eight years old!
You are so big, Charlie!  
Happy Birthday!  

Love, Mama

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