Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Elijah,

You're kind of awesome. But, you already know that.

You've had a raw deal, my little dude. Starting out life with a significant brain injury is a rough place to start. The thing is, though, you've got this thing. Slow and steady wins the race, they say. And you, my boy, just keep on keeping on.

I've never met someone as persistent as you, Elijah. It's both awesome (because you keep going) and terrible (because redirecting you is tough). But, really, never giving up is probably the best thing about you. You don't take no as an answer (that one's tough on your mama and dada), but your determination is inspiring (even if it means you're determined to climb on the dining room table).

You had your parents all to yourself for a long time, didn't you? And then we brought some other little creatures into your life. Just like any big brother, you find your little brothers annoying and obnoxious. But, you love them indeed, don't you? They give you someone to pick on and something more entertaining to watch than your boring parents. Right? You do love them, my boy. They'll be the ones who look out for you and simultaneously drive you crazy... it's just the nature of siblings.
I'm always amazed at how your moods affect me. It's impossible to be sad when you're happy. And it's impossible to be happy when you're sad. Your joy is so infectious. Well, except for this one exception: when you laugh maniacally over breaking something or pushing a brother. Thats just mean, dude.

That smile, though. You probably have the best smile in the entire world.
If only I could live in your body for just one day. I ache to know what it would be like to be you. You experience life differently, that's for sure.

You are the only one who is you and that's pretty incredible.

We love you Elijah James, our sweet little Ligee-Lou.

You're pretty awesome. I'm quite certain you already know that. Just don't let it go to your head, okay?

Love you,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Missed Opportunities

Our two big boys
“More God,” Oliver says as we sit eating lunch together.

“You want me to teach you more about God?,” I ask.

“Uh-huh,” he says, chewing on his sunbutter and jelly sandwich, his eyes wide and expectant.

Moments earlier, Oliver had told me he was sick, his hand clasped over his mouth. “Oliver needa bucket,” he said, his voiced strained.

“You don’t need a bucket,” I replied. “It’s time to eat lunch. Have you ever heard of the story The Boy Who Cried Wolf?”

We’re in the midst of the “Oliver do me-self” stage. We say one thing; he says the opposite. We tell him to do something and he finds a million things to delay his fate. And, he lies sometimes…a developmental (albeit sad) milestone.

Thus led to a conversation about lying as he finally sat down in his chair to eat lunch. “We don’t lie Oliver. God tells us not to and it’s not nice. What if mom told you she was going to buy you a new toy and then she never did buy you that toy? That would be a lie. You wouldn’t like that,” I said, trying to think of an example on the fly. “You shouldn’t tell me you’re sick if you really aren’t sick.”

“Uh-huh,” Oliver says, scrunching his face. And after a short pause: “More God?”

We sit and I explain more of the Ten Commandments, highlighting the ones that apply to him the most right now in his two year old life. No stealing, honoring your parents, remembering the Sabbath Day. I realize that part of the reason he’s asking so many questions is because he’s trying to delay the nap that inevitably comes after lunch.

And as Oliver and I sit in conversation, I think about our sweet eldest son, Elijah, and all the missed opportunities he’s had. I think about the questions he hasn’t been able to ask and the answers I didn’t think to give him. I think about the lies he hasn’t been able to tell and the missed opportunity to learn as a result. The guilt, oh, the guilt.

I wish Elijah could ask me a million annoying questions and I could exasperatedly answer him. How much of his disability is simply a result of missed opportunities: things he wasn’t able to see, textures he wasn’t able to touch, and questions he wasn’t able to ask?

More help, God. I can’t do this parenting thing on my own.
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