November 23, 2008


While my life has become increasingly complicated, it has become blessedly simple at the same time. I used to be one of the many people that perhaps devoted far too much time to the mundane and unimportant tasks on their to-do lists, that little moments of life passed by unnoticed. I can't tell you the first time Lance touched his nose. I can't tell you the first time Eva recognized my face from 6 feet away. I can't tell you the first time Sadie let the flavor of soda touch her tongue. I can tell you the exact moment of each of those 'firsts' for Bridger. I was probably too busy counting first steps, outfitting them for their first baseball game and celebrating their first graceful twirl in a tu-tu. I was too focused on training them to say, "I want Daddy to change my diaper!" that I didn't notice the first time they said the "K" sound. I was too caught up in how perfectly they made those shapes fit in the plastic cube to marvel in the fact that they could lean to the side and pick up the piece and transfer it to their other hand, too caught up in keeping them from making messes that I didn't realize how wonderful it was that they could make messes.

Now that my perspective on life, and what is important and what is not, has been whacked into perfect clarity for me, I am blessed to not only celebrate milestones, but smilestones. Smilestones are the accomplishments that most people don't notice, and if they do, they have no idea that it is something worthy of celebration. There is so much to celebrate in everyday life and I thought I would share a couple of our recent smilestones.
Smilestone #1: Bridger will hold his own cup now!!! My days of being screamed at every time he wants a sip from his cup are over:) The mini-smilestone within this is the miracle that he can drink from a cup. This took many months of work, with his mouth learning how to manage the fluid once he did drink and not choke or aspirate. The other amazing thing is the sensory component of the material the cup is made out of. For the longest time he would only drink out of a clear glass cup. Over time I was able to transition to a clear plastic cup and then eventually a colored plastic cup. This is a huge accomplishment for him and he knows it!

Smilestone #2: Bridger can finally sit! Granted, it is for only a couple minutes and if there is the slightest draft he blows right over, but he can SIT! He will only do it in front of the television, which is another mini-smilestone embedded within this picture - that he can see the tv. He has had a delayed visual maturation and the doctors are delighted that it is progressing to typical vision.
Smilestone #3: This one doesn't even need an explanation! This is his Rabbit Stander. Remember the moment you first discovered the sensation of mobility - neither do I. But to see little Bear's face the moment he experienced mobility was priceless! Again, mini-miracles here -- his legs are strong enough to stand supported, he overcomes sensory issues with his hands by touching the wheels, and coordination and strength sufficient to move the wheels. He just got the stander this week and immediately figured out how to move it forwards and backwards. The therapist's goal for Bear is that by the end of the year, if he hears the doorbell ring, he will stop what he is doing and go answer the door. I think that I will have a line out my front walkway of eager doorbell ringers with something this cute answering it.
We live in such a hurried world, with people basing their happiness on acquisition and accomplishment. I wish I could pass onto everyone a piece of the calm, simplicity and joy I have found in discovering and celebrating Smilestones.

November 06, 2008

Lucky Seven

My oldest just turned seven. Don't ask me how the time has gone so fast. I don't know -- especially when today seemed like it would never end. I hugged him really tight and told him that I was going to squeeze him back into a 4 year old. Didn't work. I told him to go back to bed and wake up yesterday and be six again. He looked at me like I was crazy. I love the amazing boy he is turning into, but I miss that little buddy that I had waddling along as my sidekick for so long. I love him beyond words, but I'll try to put a few words to it anyway. . .

1. I love that he thinks of himself as a guardian of his little sisters and brother.

2. I love that he can bait his own hook, cast his own line, catch his own fish and reel it in.

3. I love that he will eat any fruit that I put in front of him. And if I left him too long eating an apple, he would simple present me the stem back, having eaten everything -- core and all.

4. I love his brain -- that I can play him in chess as hard and strategically as I can, not dumbing my game down in the least -- and still completely lose. And his brainy, cryptic answers to every question I ask him.

Me: "Lance, what did you have for lunch today at school?"
Lance: (without even a pause) "The same thing that starts with the third letter of my favorite month."
Me: pause, hmm, OcTober, t. . t. . . "Tacos?".
Lance: "Yep."

And although it gets old to have to decipher all of his answers, I still love that his brain can think those things up so quickly.

5. I love that he loves music.

6. I love that he looks like Ralphie. If I had a nickel for every time some random stranger stopped me and said, "Do you know who he reminds me of?!" I think they are all somewhat surprised when I answer so quickly -- like I had never heard that one before. Seriously though, if they ever do the remake we are ready for casting. Just change out the glasses and add some hair gel. Don't you think?

7. I love that he knows of unconditional love, of patience, and of compassion in a way that most children don't. He was so excited a couple of years ago when he learned that he was going to have a brother. That "brother experience" didn't turn out quite like he thought it would, but he couldn't be more proud as he still stops random strangers in the store to tell them about his amazing brother. He celebrates him, he champions him, he sympathizes, he loves. Not even 19 years of perfect mothering could have morphed his heart into the tender state that one little brother did.

Lucky seven means that he is seven, and I am truly lucky.

Happy Birthday Lance!