Sunday 8 December 2019

Is Ignorance Bliss?

This picture popped up on my Facebook memories this morning because tomorrow is Nathan's 10th birthday.  I look at this picture and all I can feel is my joy in that moment.  Don't get me wrong, 15 minutes earlier I had been running around dressing both kids, recovering from a hot flash and looking for my maternity pants since it turned out I still needed them, while praying my eyeliner hadn't fallen behind the sink in the 3 months since I had last used it, but at this moment....bliss

There are days when I silently beg to go back to this moment, to this feeling, and to....not knowing.  Of course this can never ever happen, but I can't help but think of how much present day me would appreciate the chance to experience this all over again.  To allow the weight of what is to dissipate and live in the moment of what could be, even for a few minutes.  

I look at his beautiful, perfect fingers, and nose, and lips; his sweet hair that was actually my color for a whole month before it fell out.  I think about his sweet disposition, his amazing sleep (to be fair, anything felt amazing after big brother), how easy he was to feed.  He was a content, easily comforted baby.  
The mother in this picture simply had no idea of the journey she was embarking upon.  She had no idea at all that her life was headed in a direction that would teach her and challenge her as much as it has.

The mother in this picture had no idea that over the next 10 years she would:
  • cry an ocean of tears
  • question every decision she had ever made about her own health
  • wonder countless times what she did to cause her beautiful baby to endure such challenges
  • beg, a lot- doctors, therapists, teachers, and mainly God
  • lose many of her friends' support as she navigated this new world
  • sleep less than 4 hours in a row every night.  For. 10. years.
  • spend more time with therapy providers on a daily basis than any of her family and more money on this therapy each month than she did on her first apartment
  • subject her beautiful son to injections, IV treatments, EEG's, sleep studies, ekgs, a ridiculous number of blood draws, endless developmental testing, dietary restrictions, literally hundreds of supplements, and close to 20 doctors.
  • end her marriage
  • lose any sense of herself for a long, long time

I look at her and I wonder how she would have reacted if she had known then what I know now.  I think about what this picture may have looked like.  Do I think she would have felt this blissful?  I have to be honest with myself and say no.  I think she would have been terrified.  So maybe ignorance is bliss?

With all of that said, the woman in the picture also had no idea that over the next 10 years she would:
  • cry another ocean of tears each time her son mastered a new word, which at times took years
  • question every "norm" put in place for all of our children- medical, educational, developmental, and social
  • wonder countless times how she would ever do everything that her baby needed to help him endure his challenges, only to discover that she just WOULD
  • beg, a lot (let's be real here)
  • gain beautiful true friendships rooted in love and respect
  • learn how little material "things" matter when those things cannot provide what her child really needs
  • do absolutely anything, anything, to help her child thrive
  • slowly begin to find herself again.
And so... maybe it's not?

I love Nathan with an intensity that I had no idea existed.  I love both of my children, don't get me wrong, and if you hurt either of them, well, just don't.  The bond that Nathan and I share is extraordinary.  Our communication is on such a deep level that words are almost extraneous at this point.  There are times (so. many. times) when I am overcome with sadness watching typical children Nathan's age, wishing he could do all of the same things, but then I also experience moments of almost feeling sorry that the moms of these kids don't get to experience the special nature of my bond with Nathan with their own children.

My son cannot yell "mom come here".  But he can yell DRIIIIIINK, up the stairs 35 times in 2 minutes until I get my ass down there and get his drink.  Or occasionally walk up the stairs and drop his cup in my lap and just stare at me like I am a moron.

My son cannot tell me "mom I don't want to go to school", but he can hide in his trampoline and look at me with his "side eye" and laugh like a hyena while yelling "no, I don't" when I try to climb in to take him out to get him on the bus.

My son cannot tell me what he did at school, but he does get off of the bus every day and jump into my arms and pull my arm around him the whole way home, while we repeat to each other "good day".

My son cannot tell me he needs me to hold him, but he can pull my arms around him and grab them and put them back if I move an inch.  He can press his face to mine and stare at me so soulfully that it brings tears to my eyes.

My son cannot tell me he is in pain.  I just know.

My son cannot tell me he loves me.  But he did spend 10 minutes at his 10th birthday party touching my face, and looking at me in a way that made others stop and stare. He does climb into my bed each morning and snuggle up against me while we kiss each other's noses.  

So, do I think ignorance is bliss?  Well first of all, I no longer think I was ignorant, I think I was naive.  I have learned so much from this little boy, and we still have so far to go.  These are the faces of two people in the know.  We work hard together and have gotten through so much.

Probably the most important thing I have learned is that my heart can stretch, bend, twist, and turn in ways I never even imagined.  My heart can withstand whatever it needs to, to support, love, and accept my child in the way that he needs.

I think this quote says it best...

1 comment:

  1. This is beyond beautiful. A wise, authentic, funny, heartbreaking, heartfelt, hopeful, courageous, precious, painful and loving portrait of an extraordinary boy by his fierce momma. May God heap blessings on you both!