“I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart.” ~ Pope John XXIII
It was a weekend filled with “normal” parent-with-children activities. To be totally honest, I still find some of this “normalcy” tiring in a different way than when I was chasing watermelons down the street (way more normal). However, it was also filled with some very small baby steps, which were definitely milestones for this family thus still grounding me in our roots that “our normal” has not always been filled with Pumpkin Patches, parks, and shopping, and that our normal still involves celebrating even the slightest development, because for us many of these tiny developments are the most major of steps forward.
It really started Saturday morning. KSP was out of town so I was doing our usual morning routine and as I called Q over to say, “it’s time to brush your teeth.” Out of nowhere as he toddled toward me, he parroted back “tees.” I laughed out loud, yelping a bit like a hyena and nearly scared him so that he fell down, but when he righted himself I asked him to say it again. “Tees,” he said again with a huge smile.
With therapists in and out of our house constantly interacting with E, Q gets the halo effect of these therapies, in the best way but also in the way that leads to questions. When other people are around, he does not babble on and on and chatter away to me, Nana H. or E. Instead, he acts as if he knows it’s E’s time, which means he quietly plays in and around E and her therapist. As time has gone on, almost every one of E’s therapists has asked about his words, and how he is doing. I always say he is doing well and he talks non-stop but for some reason when everyone else is there, he tends to be more quiet.
They always nod quietly, and tell me that between 2 and 3 he should develop into a 200-300 word vocabulary. I always know what they are implying but I also know that for Q, there have been people, strangers around him literally from the day he was born. He has always be a bit shy but warms up quickly and that he talks constantly with us, and so I truly, “mostly” believe it will be just in his time when the words will flow. Don’t get me wrong he has 35 words or so that we understand, but he doesn’t string them together and there had been a bit of a plateau, until yesterday. As I pointed to different features on his face, he went through them all in his sweet baby voice, Tees, Maus, nos, eye, braw, ea (most of the time it’s only parents that can understand these words, can you tell?), I was amazed and thrilled. I also breathed a little sigh of relief.
Sunday too, was laced with the most spectacular development. Persistent eye contact from E. She was not looking at my forehead or my chin, she kept looking into my eyes. Over and over, at different times during the day. For 30 seconds at a time. Smiling, happy, like she had been doing it all along, but telling me with her eyes, that she knew how long I had been waiting and that maybe it’s now time. Maybe now she is ready. She made no promises but her smiles, her eyes and her heart told me this was my special gift, my Halloween treat.
While I will hold at hope that it’s not a trick… I will celebrate this little baby step like a major milestone and relish in the joy that I feel of feeling her look into my eyes and into my soul.
Today, as we prepare to become Pebbles and Bam Bam and settle into a day of fun and games, I will feel real joy. The gratitude in my heart for every little improvement, to be able to look back from where we came and know just how far we have come. Last year at this time, E was on oxygen, she was barely responsive to any of us, and today she looks at each of us and smiles like a rainbow, to say that today is ‘mynewfavoriteday’ would be to understate how I feel.
How I am so excited to put the wondertwins in their costumes, to take them to a little Halloween party, to watch them watch everyone else and interact and not be fearful of them getting sick, having a setback or keeping them sheltered from everything and everyone.
It’s a special day, we can all let go a little more. I hope for you today you can find this same feeling of gratitude and joy in your heart, for small things that can be big things for you, or just small things that all add up to make you happy. Happy Halloween!
Here are some pictures of some of our early Halloween treat time: