Dear Joshua at age 6,
You're the last baby, so you're allowed to come in our bed in the middle of the night, squish in-between us, steal the blankets and force me to sleep halfway off the mattress edge.
You're the last baby, so you're able to bring your bunny to first grade in your backpack (provided he stays tucked away). Maybe some would say you're too old to be allowed this luxury, but I have the wisdom gained from your brothers before you that tells me this won't last forever.
You're the last baby, so I linger for extra bedtime hugs and kisses. I savor the storybooks, bath toys and cute pajamas. The nightly rituals of early childhood are among life's simplest gifts.
You're the last baby, so I procrastinate weeding out the blankie and sippy cup collections. When those leave my house, I will never have a reason to replace them, and sometimes that makes me sad.
You're the last baby, so I often forget how big you really are. Your height actually rivals that of your 9 year old brother's.
You're the last baby, so I have gratitude for you being the one to truly teach me patience and multi-tasking.
You're the last baby, so I'll never again be the frazzled mama at big kid school pick up with a fussy toddler on my hip, looking for his pacifier. I didn't know I could ever feel sentimental about moments like that, seemingly so stressful at the time.
You're the last baby, so while I want to keep you little, I know there are joys in watching you grow. I hope for your happiness and health and many fun stages to come.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Living in the moment is a popular notion. There are countless blogs, articles and books created to teach us how to incorporate this way of thinking into our daily lives. I've written about it before, too, finding it essential to my happiness.
It seems to apply so much to the life of a parent who has a child with an uncertain prognosis. How else can we get up, and do all the tasks required for living in a relatively calm manner, unless we take things one step at a time?
I feel challenged when I am so stressed that I have to remind myself constantly to stay in the moment. The sweet spot for me occurs when I'm living this way effortlessly. Sometimes I can actually go a few weeks at a time without thinking about the future and making guesses what that may look like.
It is harsh reality that all my maternal love cannot anchor my child with mitochondrial disease to the earth as long as I want. I am not ultimately in control. I can do all the research, take him to all the right doctors, try all the right medicines, and it still may not be enough.
But here's the thing, and we often forget it. There are no guarantees any child will make it to adulthood. There are accidents every day. There are fluke illnesses that take the life of an otherwise healthy kid. So I've been spending all this time assuming I'm different than other parents, and I am really not. Likewise, us adults are not invincible, either. Even those of us who are relatively young still and healthy have no guarantees on this earth.
We ALL have to live in the moment. It is truly all we have. We should take that trip, call that old friend, let our sons or daughters stay up just a little longer, and hug a bit tighter. I think those moments make us lucky, whether we get 1000 more of them still or just one. The fragility of life is best seen as creating our experiences' beauty rather than tainting it.