Thursday, September 6, 2012

Part of the Road

Ryan has said some interesting, shell-cracking comments lately.

Yes, I said Ryan!

At the zoo, Richie and Daddy strolled along in front of us.  Ryan, who stayed back with me, comes out with "How's it going, Mom?" I was a bit stunned, but happily answered, "It's going great, sweetie!"

Every now and again, he lumbers into the kitchen and randomly says, "Hey mom."

The other night, as we began to finish stories and move to water and toothbrushing, he proclaimed his usual, "No school!"  I quickly replied something about how his teachers love him, and what a great day he'll have tomorrow.  Immediately, he burst into tears.  Not a fit.  Real, upset, curl-up-in-mom's-lap tears.  Then he started to say "Do you feel sick?"  I didn't really blow him off, but I thought his tummy might be bothering him from nerves.  Labor Day, being the Monday after school starts, does not help my poor guy.  We had a frustrating amount of anxiety bottled up Monday night.

I didn't think too much more of it.  Then the next night, in an obvious accident, he hurt his brother's foot.  I mean, kinda almost crushed a couple of toes.  Made us all hurt for Richie.

After sending Ryan to bed, I held onto Richie long enough to console him and make sure nothing was broken, then we put him to bed as well.  When Eric went into their room, Ryan showed genuine upset that he'd hurt his brother.  Not in so many words, but with the same tears as the night before.  And again, that same thing came back.

"Do you feel sick?"

Anyone else would have said "Thanks, but no" but when you're Ryan's mom and dad, you know that this means that he feels sick himself.  

Enter my husband's fatherly awesomeness.  

"Ryan, do you feel sick in your heart, because of what happened to Richie?  Yes or no?" 

If it's a yes or no question, you have to say "yes or no" or he'll either not answer or get frustrated.  And guess what?  

He said yes.  And cried harder. 

This is a boy who doesn't say much other than stimmy phrases, repeated lines from movies and books, and has to be coached to ask for things instead of just blurt out things like "MILK!"  

Difficulty communicating?  Oh yes.  But you better believe this kid has a heart. He has feelings.  He hears what we say, internalizes it, processes it, applies it... but all in his own way and his own time.  He hears what we're asking him to do, what we're asking the littles to do.  And as we drove onto the Baylor campus the other day, he proved it. Randomly.

"Heeeeeeeeeeeey... SIC 'EM BEARS!"  

He pronounced it correctly.  He said it in relation to where he was.  

Then there's the news I heard today.  You know how I told you he's been climbing out of the van, immediately to turn and say "Mommy will come" and I have to say about fifteen times that I'll be back?  

He's been crying for me.  

Not just crying.  Crying for Mommy.  The same kid that I've wondered if he'd just rather we left and let him have the house to himself.  He cares about all of us, and it's starting to show in tangible ways.  

This is the same boy whose affinity toward playing by himself led me to think that maybe I was just the worst mother E-V-E-R.  

The very same boy who is still inclined to just saying what he wants in an empty room.  

The same kid who has never, ever woken to crying out for mommy or daddy... just crying or screaming.  

But while things improve even slightly every day, we must remember from whence we came.  We must remember his... and our... struggles.  We must remember that he had no measurable verbal communication at three years old.  He didn't even really gesture.  

We must remember, because if we forget where he started, how will we know how far he's come?  How will we remember to be grateful?  How will we feel gratefulness, if not for remembering the vacuum in which we once lived?

We have been given much.  We must not forget!  After all, what was good for the Israelites is surely good enough for us.

"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  Make them known to your children and your children's children" ~Deuteronomy 4:9

We will remember.  

Thanks be to God! 

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