When I was pregnant with Henry, I made a playlist of songs from Sesame Street for Calvin. Songs that I remembered from my own childhood. And when I came across this one, it made me tear up. I felt touched by the sentiment. Seeing beauty, seeing importance in something easily taken for granted. I was also thinking of a baby as being both a little thing - a little squishy thing! - and also a big thing - a big, life-changing thing! And there I was with one baby on the outside, just learning to crawl, and one still on the inside on his way to join us.
And the little one that came to join us was Henry. And tomorrow is Henry's first birthday!
As the weeks have led up to Henry's birthday, part of me has been feeling sad... worried... even sorry or guilty... because I can see that Henry is not very much like a 1-year-old boy. He doesn't sit or crawl. He doesn't pull himself up to stand or cruise or walk around. He doesn't eat table foods or drink from a cup or even hold his own bottle. He doesn't talk or call me Mama. He doesn't bang toys together or fit toys together or clap his hands. He won't be able to eat birthday cake.
He hasn't reached those big milestones yet. It doesn't mean he won't, of course, it just means that his timeline is stretched out. Developmental delay, they call it. He's hit some milestones. He rolls over and over. He holds himself up on his elbows and reaches for toys. He brings toys to his mouth. He eats early baby-foods like purees and soups. Those are big milestones. It's just that typically babies reach all those milestones by the time they're 6 or 7 months old. There are more milestones he was "supposed" to reach in this first 12 months of his life. I see other babies, younger babies, doing things Henry can't... and sometimes it's fine because I know Henry is Henry and Henry is free to do things in his own time. But sometimes it hurts. It hurts because it reminds me of what Henry could be like if only. If only he wasn't different. If only it wasn't so hard for him.
But whenever I start to feel those flurries of worry and sadness and regret, the thing that snaps me out of it more than anything else is to look at Henry. To really see Henry. I see him smile his bright smile. I see him focus his eyes on me and know who I am. I watch him take interest in a toy and roll and pivot until he can reach it. I see him pass the toy from one hand to the other. Put it in his mouth. Bring his feet up and push on it. Teeny, tiny movements that are teeny, tiny milestones in and of themselves.
It's okay if Henry's milestones are teeny tiny because the little things matter. The little things count. Those little things are his way of showing us that he is learning and growing and going to be okay. They are opportunities for us to cheer him on. Opportunities to feel gratitude. To appreciate him just as he is.
So here's to Henry. Here's to every single one of the few seconds that he can sit up on his own. Here's to every bite of stale graham cracker that he managed to chew and swallow without gagging. Here's to every ounce he has gained and every inch he has grown. Here's to that one tiny tooth poking through in front. Here's to every light brown curl on his little pea-head. Here's to his breathy laugh, and of course, his incredible smile. Happy birthday to my sweet sweet boy.
|Tomorrow we'll take the 12 month pic!|