As I sit here anxiously awaiting Timothy’s first day of Playschool tomorrow I know deep down what I’m most anxious about.
Timothy is our last baby. The last “firsts” we will experience with a child of our own. And although there were many times I wished we were “on track” with other kids, I relished the extra time I got with Timothy needing me. I got to carry him a little bit longer and to snuggle him to sleep just those few extra times. I got to drag out the last of our firsts.
Now everything is about to change. I’ve seen it coming the past few months. The leaps and bounds forward Timothy has made. And it’s amazing, truly. But it’s scary too.
Playschool is going to open so many doors for Timothy. The help and services he will receive is what we’ve hoped for these past 2 years. But it also means that he is about to grow into a little boy, the last traces I have of my baby slowly going away.
I know that now comes the growing up, the independence, the need for me a little bit less. I know that now comes the letting go.
Today Timothy turns Three. The number that has given me so many different emotions over the past few months has arrived.
Three feels like a big one for me. It feels scary. Three is the end of babyhood and the beginning of childhood. I mean can you believe Timothy will be attending school in 6 short months?!
He will be leaving the safe and secure bubble of home. I won’t be able to protect him from every stare, every comment, every question. I won’t be able to keep him in the little world I’ve created around him. I wonder all the time what this year will mean for him.
Three seems to make our delays and differences feel more real. At two you are still sort of a baby and that made it easier to accept being behind but at three it feels different. I worry what it will feel like for him to be in a room of his peers, will he know he is different? Have I given him enough love and confidence in himself to not care that he is?
To me, he is the amazing loving little boy I know because of his differences. I wonder if his teachers will see that. If the other parents will see it. If he will make friends that see it.
Everyone has told me how good it will be for the other kids to have Timothy in their classroom to learn about inclusion. And it will be. But I don’t want my son to just be a lesson in inclusion, I want him to be a kid someone likes to sit by, I want him to be a kid someone asks to play with, I want him to just be a kid.
I think too often when people see a kid with a disability they see a “disabled kid” and nothing else. But I don’t want that for Timothy (or anyone). The word disability isn’t a bad word and it should be said but it is only a part of a person it is not their entire identity. Timothy is a kid with a disability. He is Timothy first. He is a kid first. Timothy is a kid who loves to sing, to jump, to swing, to go outside. He is a kid who loves chocolate and who throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. For the past three years I’ve been able to make sure he could be a kid first and now I have to hope that the rest of his world can do the same.
So three feels like a big one for me. It feels scary. Because three is the beginning of childhood. And I’m not ready to trust the world with my baby just yet.
Three years of loving you, my bright smiley boy. Happy Birthday Teeny Beans.
Two years ago today I fell in love with the most handsome little boy.
I remember being so afraid during my pregnancy for that first moment, the moment he would enter the world. Not because of the pain of labor or the whole pushing a baby out of my body thing but because he was a boy.
The first grandson in a family full of girls. My son. I just didn’t know how to be a boy mom.
I worried that I wouldn’t bond with him immediately the way that I did with my girls. But when they first placed him on me I felt the power of the mother and son bond you always hear about. He had my heart in an instant and life has never been the same.
Learning about Timothy’s diagnosis and the whirlwind of his first year of life was crazy and I didn’t know anything other than that I loved that little boy with everything in me.
Last night I was thinking about Timothy turning two and I got overwhelmed with emotions (if you watch my Instagram stories I’m sure you gathered that already haha). I just can’t believe that I was chosen to be Timothy’s mom.
I don’t know what I did to be trusted with this amazing task of raising him (I’ve talked more about this in an older blog post). But what I do know is that I don’t take it lightly… hence the emotions.
Part of my emotion was fear. That strong and deep Mama bear fear. A fear that we live in too harsh of a world. A fear that once I have to send my little boy out into that world that it will crush his joyful spirit. A fear that makes me want to just cuddle him close and keep him in our safe little bubble away from the bullies and people who don’t understand him for as long as I possibly can.
Another part of that emotion was worry. In my world fear and worry are not the same thing. If we wanted to interchange worry with anything it would have to be mom guilt. Because the worry is all mine. I worry that I am not doing enough. I worry that I am not supporting him enough to be able to catch up developmentally. I worry that I am not teaching him the right things. I worry that I don’t know how to do this, but really who does?
And of course the most predictable of my emotions? MY BABY IS GROWING UP TOO FAST. Because he is. How did my little Tiny Timmo turn into this blonde toothy smiled sweet toddler? It all goes too quickly. And yeah some days it feels like it doesn’t go quickly enough when you were up all night with a screaming baby, but then you get that cuddle, or that hug, or that overly sloppy kiss and you would do almost anything to stop time for just a few extra minutes in that moment. I have had a lot of those moments with Timothy.
Now at the close of our second year I can honestly say that having Timothy has been the most magical and life altering experience. One that makes this emotional roller coaster a ride I would take over and over again.
Timothy has given me the chance to learn more than I could ever imagine, connect deeper than I knew possible, and appreciate things in a whole new way. His smile lights up my day and I could listen to his laughter for hours on end. He radiates happiness (I guess I really did choose an appropriate blog name).
So today we celebrate that two years ago I fell in love with the most handsome little boy. And I would relive every single second of it if I had the choice.
Happy Birthday Teeny Shark. Mommy loves you more than you’ll ever know.
I know it has been a long and tough road and yet you are only at the beginning. There has been sleepless nights, never ending days, endless google searches, and too many tears. Ever since the first thought of there being something “different” about your child, you have not been at peace. You have wondered what, why, and how. You have blamed yourself for not remembering your prenatal vitamin everyday, or for that one time you caved and ate unpasteurized cheese during your pregnancy. You have scolded yourself for not recognizing what was going on sooner, or not pushing the Doctors to look harder. And then all at once you have quickly forced yourself into acceptance and bravery. You know your husband does not understand half of the medical terms being tossed around, and your mother is beside herself with worry for your child so you have to be there to support them. Speaking of your child, how can you show them anything but bravery and acceptance? This is their life after all and they are so young and innocent. This diagnosis changes things, possibly everything. You have to keep it all together, the dishes, laundry, making meals, signing field trip forms, blood tests, specialist appointments, the list only gets longer. You make all the calls, telling family and friends the same information over and over, always answering “I’m fine” if they ask how you are handling things.
But Mama, you are not fine and that’s okay. You are allowed to feel the roller coaster of emotions this diagnosis came with. You are allowed to be angry and blame the universe if that gets you through the day. You are allowed to be afraid for every single worst case scenario that could come your way. You are allowed to laugh at things that are completely inappropriate at the time. You are allowed to eat every piece of chocolate you can get your hands on. You are allowed to ugly cry into a pillow. Your life just changed in a big way too. And tomorrow or two weeks from now you will get up and continue on with the bravery and acceptance because you are a great mom. But until then feel all the feelings, let yourself go through the healing process. It’s okay to grieve.