I’ve wanted to be a grown-up for as long as I can remember.
Now that it’s here, now I have full-on grown up responsibilities and problems and heartbreaking realities to face, I’m not sure I want to be a grown-up anymore.
I watch my oldest son come bursting through the back door with lots of energy and enthusiasm.
“How was your day?”
“Great! It was the best day ever!”
When we sit down for a meal:
“Would you like to pray?”
“Yes. Dear God, Please help us to have the best meal ever!”
When we anticipate things to come, he has the best outlook:
“Mom, on Christmas day, make sure you say, ‘This is the best Christmas ever!’ Okay?”
Who is this kid? Really, no one else in our household is this positive. my husband and I will debrief an event we expected to go differently and critique the details that didn’t turn out quite right. And I have deadened myself to the true desires of my heart. Too many disappointments along the path of life as caused me to expect a lesser joy. It even takes an elaborate circus act to get Nathan to smile.
Then there’s Mac.
Don’t get me wrong. He has moments of true sadness and disappointment. But even then I am in awe of how he bounces back. Recently he was processing something sad and I saw it on his face.
“It’s okay to be sad buddy. Sad is just a feeling. It will stay for a while and then go away.”
And back to playing he goes. Goodness that boy is in it to win it.
I hope that I don’t squash his optimism and enthusiasm in my attempt to help him get in tune with the realities of life. Reality will hit him soon enough. Being Nathan’s brother has already forced him to face full on the brokenness of this world.
I wish that I would have known all those years ago, back in the innocence of my childhood, to fully enjoy the present moment. My father used to say, “Stop wishing your life away, kiddo.” I’m almost 40 and I still find myself wishing my life away.
I think, One day, I won’t have to do such intensive therapy with Nathan. One day, when Nathan can walk and I won’t have to carry his limp body around the house. One day, Nathan will be better able to communicate and it won’t be such a guessing game. One day, I can sit on the back porch and read a book all morning long.
Well someday is now. Now is when I need to be sitting on the back porch reading a book.
I am a grown-up and grown-ups can enjoy life too! I think Mac would agree.
Grown-up life is hard enough, but when you have a child like Nathan with so many medical things to manage, so many therapy exercises to work on, so many more ways to discover how to communicate, it just amplifies hard. I am a grown-up with your more than average level of responsibilities. That’s why I just want to be a kid again.
Going into 2017, I am going to focus on staying present in the moments of each day. Even when those moments are unpleasant and Nathan’s formula has broken free from the feeding tube and spilled everywhere on the clean clothes, again. When he’s fighting me on a cath and I don’t have my dinner plans in motion. And when the moments are good, I want to fully drink in the pure goodness and joy of a craft project exploded on the kitchen counter and belly laughter coming from another light saber fight in the playroom.
For Mac, I pray that the disappointments won’t keep him from desiring. I pray that he won’t unintentionally stop creating and striving to fulfill the ideas that continually bubble up into his mind. Most of all I hope that he will stay fully in the moment called today and not wish his life away.
Every day is a gift. We will live it fully, whether we are grown-up or want to be grown-up, whether it is hard or happy, tear-stained or full of belly laughter.
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!