Ruth and I had a very fun, busy day today. We started out taking the long way home from the bus stop and went by our favorite spot in the neighborhood where we can look out over the river and count the boats. After that we went to the library for story time and then went on a shopping hunt for cheap fall clothes for Matthew. She was being such a great little companion, and we had had a fair amount of success finding good deals on clothing, so Ruth and I decided to stop for some lunch.
She played for several minutes while we waited for our food. Then we had some fun playing with the toy that came in her meal while eating our food. I looked around and noticed all the other moms. Moms with kids about the ages of mine. Moms nursing their babies and lugging a child around on a hip while corralling another. It made me smile to see such a familiar sight. I know I often wondered if I was the only one who did these things. I smiled at the memories of doing those things with Erynn and Ruth, and I was happy. We finished our lunch and continued to laugh and play her new game all the way to the car.
But as soon as I sat down in the driver’s seat, I was hit with a sudden and uncontrollable flood of tears. There was no reason for it really. Nothing new at least. It’s just this thing that happens when I least expect it; usually when things are going well and I’m feeling happiest. It’s a stab to the gut that reminds me that the future is a very muddy place. It’s an evil little voice in my head that says “sure he’s making progress, but will he continue to make progress? So what if he learns to take a bottle! That doesn’t mean that he will ever be able to have his g-tube removed. He may learn to move food to the back of his throat, but that doesn’t mean he will ever learn to control his hands enough to get the food there himself.” It compares the baby that we saw in the grocery store, a baby that was probably half his age, to Matthew, pointing out how much more that baby moved and talked; that that baby was able to grab at things.
That’s the hardest part of all of this: seeing children younger than Matthew. I know that he has overcome a lot. I know that he is behind for his age. But, when I see another baby, when I watch friends have babies and then watch those babies grow, it is then that I am slapped with the reality of exactly how far behind he is. I’m used to the way he his. I just don’t realize how quiet and still he is until I see a younger child wiggling and jabbering. It is then that my mind says “WOW! How can he possibly ever get to that point?”
I sat there in the car with those unwanted tears streaming down my face until they were done. I wiped them off, smiled at Ruth in the mirror, hid behind some sunglasses and continued on with my day. I hate those moments. I hate that they come without warning. I hate crying, and I hate crying for no reason even more.
He’s already an extraordinary kid. Matthew may never reach the point of ‘normal’. I am okay with that. I am thankful just to have my Matthew with me. I don’t care about the rest.
I guess that is why those bad moments upset me. They make me feel, though only for a moment, like there is more bad than good in his little life. That simply is not true! That kind of thinking doesn’t deserve the light of day. Yet, it stole a few minutes of my day today. Tomorrow I make them up with extra hugs and extra kisses for my little super hero.