"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Not Ready to Miss It

I spent Wednesday of last week touring another Autism center with Eli. I think it is a good fit for him. Where he is currently is amazing. I love the staff. What they have done for our little giant ... I don't have the words for my gratitude. There is no form of repayment. Nothing I can do to give them what they have given our family. But it's time for a change. Something calmer, something our whole family can take part in. Something that isn't a 45-60 minute drive each way, three days a week.

Something that will best prepare him for Kindergarten.

And that's where I lose it a bit. Eli has always been small and when he interacts with people, it's easy to think he's younger than he is. I think I have found too much comfort in that - especially in the last year and a half.

He is very much my baby. I am grateful for his cuddling, grateful for the silly, baby voice he does. I am grateful that I can carry him on my hip and swaddle him like he's so much younger than he is.

I am grateful. So very grateful.

But I am torn.

Because he isn't a baby. He isn't even a toddler. He's closer to five than he is to three and that is hardest for me.

Because to be a good mom, to be a good advocate for him, I know I need to prepare him. That his prep for mainstream school is prep-work. I know that if I am going to ask a teacher to love him and embrace him and give him a chance, it's only fair for me to do everything in my power to not hinder him from being the most ready. To treat him the age he is rather than the age he seems. I can't ask someone else to do that if I won't.


... he's my last baby. I thought I would be okay with that. I thought I would be okay with that until the second doctor looked at me and told me (just like the first) that he had to be. When it isn't up to you ... when you don't get to choose ...

He's my last baby and he is so very much my baby - the way he reaches up to be held, the way he cuddles, the way he giggles. He is so much my baby. To be his advocate I need to acknowledge that he's so much more than that. To be a good momma I need to help him succeed and win his small victories and reach the goals he needs for what is to come.

Every logical part of me knows that. I know that.

But every time someone asks, "Are you having any more kids?" or "Are you going to try for a girl?" I cuddle with him a little longer.  I know I have innocently asked those same questions.

I don't ask anymore.

I know how it hurts. How you feel the little crack tapped into your heart when you politely say "who knows" to save awkwardness or simply say "we can't" and then feel badly for making anyone feel uncomfortable with the response.
They grow so quickly. Even when they don't grow much at all, even when everything about them screams that they are three when they are closer to five ... time goes so quickly.

Logan asked me not to kiss him a couple weeks ago outside of school. He gave me a high-five and a hand-squeeze instead. I'm so proud of him. So, so proud of him but I know Eli isn't far behind. And that's our hope ... that he is right in step. That his joy and strengths and "smarts" stick with him but that he one day says, "No more kisses, Mom," as he runs off with a friend. With every part of me I want that for him. Every part of me wants that.

But it's happening so fast. I didn't know I needed to be ready for this. I didn't know that Eli's first steps would be our last first steps. That his "first birthday" cupcake would be our last "first birthday" cupcake. That the last time he sat in his high chair would be the last time one of our babies sat in that high chair.

I didn't know it was the last time.

I didn't know.

They tell you it goes so quickly. Blink and they are going to kindergarten, to homecoming, to college. Blink and you'll miss it.

I'm not ready to miss it.