This time last year the doctor's were telling me that my little Preston had holes in his heart. It's a funny feeling walking a line between joy and sorrow, courage and fear, hope and despair. I remember thinking that I was just so fucking inadequate to the challenges being set before me. I looked into my little guy's eyes and I didn't have anything I could promise him. There was no guarantees, no whispered assurances that were good enough; it was all so big, and I was just so ill prepared for the seemingly insurmountable trek in front of us. I remember begging God to show me the future. I wanted so much to know there would be an end to the nightmare. If only I could catch a glimpse of Preston in front of his first birthday cake, happy, and healthy - alive...then maybe I could face another day in the dark.
But there would be no easy answers, no promises made to me by doctors or God. I faced everyday as though it were his last for the first six months of his life, and the sadness faded. I hadn't expected that. But every new moment, every new day I was granted with him became...enough. And I know how cliche it all sounds...But the world is like crystal now. Clear, and beautiful, and easily shattered.
Charles Dickens once wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..." And this was the context of my life for an endless brief period of time. Never before have I understood the ironic contradiction that is life so fully and completely.
Did you know...that the dark can illuminate your path?
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
After cleaning up the kitchen I ask Gabe if he would like to work on his words. Recently we've seen his speech therapist and the doctor noticed he was having trouble with his S blend words. Gabe jumps at the chance to be my center of attention and we begin the hard work of pronunciation. While we are working on "Snowmobile" Eden grabs for the pile of paper word pictures and snatches "Snake" from the table top. Gabe grabs her wrist, viper quick and with a boa's strength, squeezes her tiny arm and shouts, "Don't fucking do that Edie". My mouth drops open as I pry them apart and take the picture from her hand.
"Gabriel, you are not allowed to say the Eff word in my house!" I state while feeling all the bit of the hypocrite I am. Confusion is written all over his face and I realize he can't spell and so I can't stop him from saying the word without repeating the word myself. An ironic hypocrite I have become when I explain once more that the word "fucking" is a bad word and should not be said...by anyone.
"Any person who says the bad word will have to go for a time out!" Gabe's eyes nearly bulge from their sockets as he asks, "You too?" I hang my head while I consider the implications of handing such power over to a three year old...but if I want him to change...then so must I. "Yes, me too" I mumble. I can only hope I'm not creating a monster and instead, I'll be instilling in him that even adults have to pay for their mistakes.
It's almost time for bed and so I pack up Gabe's words while thinking ruefully...S blend words are troublesome for him....
Nah, It just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
In a baby's first twelve months of life he will learn a lot of new skills. You have learned to sit up, to eat solid foods, to crawl, and you even took your first steps. I cheered you on through all of it and I was over joyed with each new success. But you are more than your milestones, Preston. You are Truth; a pure and simple, but intricate truth.
It seems that every one of us is searching for the next best thing. We want a bigger house, a faster car, an upgrade for our cell phone; what we have is never good enough and what we need is always more, more, more. My goals, and needs, and wants weren't much different than most; although I liked to believe they were. I was a person that thought she appreciated what she had - who believed she understood what was most important in life...
But our minds play tricks on us, and we are fooled into believing that time isn't real and that tomorrow will always come. Somewhere along the line we begin to believe there's time enough for anything, what a fallacy; such a deception.Your one year here has taught me how much knowledge I had, but how very little understanding I possessed. The truth is - there are no second chances. We don't get a do over. What can be done today should be done today. If you have an apology to make, make it. If you have an emotion to express, express it. If you have a life to lead, for god sake's lead it and stop following those few who claim to have all the answers.
People live in a world of excuses, and half truths. They rarely live in the moment and instead prefer to live in a future that is never guaranteed. They devote themselves to a God they claim to know, or to money they revere, or to kings they want to be like and I no longer understand why. You blew my world apart kid, in one year you shattered it to pieces, and now I find the puzzle larger than it was when I started. Perhaps this is what they mean when people implore you to see the "big picture". My bigger picture is now made up of smaller, simpler snapshots.
These snapshots include taking my kids to the park and watching them play. I want to tell a silly joke and hear their laughter. I want to kiss their tired heads and tuck them in at night, and I want tomorrow to come so I can do it all again.
It's true that I still wish for tomorrow Preston, but you have taught me to live for today.
I love you,
Happy birthday my sweet, simple truth.