It seems like time is just flying by and that you're getting so old. I could get emotional just thinking about how much you've changed in the last couple of years.
You're excited to play and learn new things. You love to talk about EVERYTHING. You know a lot about animals and trucks and dinosaurs. You also taught me about condensation the other day. You watch a lot of PBS Kids, apparently. But, you know what? I don't really mind.
You love to hang out with your Dad. He is still the coolest, strongest, smartest person you know. You light up when he enters a room and you love to spend time with him, just the two of you. He teaches you things like: how to change the oil in a car (sort of), how to play baseball, how to catch frogs, and how to start a campfire. I can tell that he is really enjoying this older version of you too. He loves that you love everything he does. He loves to ride four wheelers with you and take you places. He loves to talk about diesel motors and other truck stuff. You are two peas in a pod, that's for sure.
It's also been fun to see how you're changing around others. You love to play and include others, but I often notice you chasing an unfamiliar group of kids around just hoping that one of them will invite you along. You're also quite the jokester. You like to make people laugh. You love to be goofy and silly (this could be bad for you when you get to school) and you love to learn, well, mostly you love to play, which I hope will someday result in a joy of learning and doing.
You started 4K this Fall. You love it! Every day you talk about the friends you play with (I'm surprised with the amount of ladies in your life ~ Clara and Amelia are talked about on a daily basis) and the projects you "forget to do" because you're too busy playing cars with Kolby and Carter (your two buddies). You've been absolutely amazing during this transition for me "back to work"... as part-time as it has been. You're always ready to head to school in the morning, never fuss about the random modes of transportation you take to get there (thank GOD for fabulous neighbor friends who pick you up each morning), and you never complain that you're ALWAYS the last one to be picked up. I'm lucky that you've been so easy-going lately, perhaps it's because you're four! At least, that's what you tell me when I praise you up and down, over and over again, for being so awesome... "Mom. It's betuz I'm foe", you say.
Yes, my friend. You are four and you are awesome. But.... there's always a "but", isn't there!?! I still worry. I worry about so many things. I guess that's what us Moms do. We worry. Grandma tells me over and over again that parents live on guilt. We live on the fact that we are certain we are doing everything we possibly can, WRONG.
Somedays I look at you and wonder... Are you getting enough? Do you know how special you are? I wonder this a lot. Sometimes I wonder this when you're acting like a total maniac (crying, throwing a gigantic "drama-queen" fit). Other times I worry about this when you're quiet. When you sit back and watch, trying not to interrupt or not to bother anyone. I worry that you're so aggressive and rough. Why must you drive a truck into the side of a couch over and over again as opposed to simply driving it in a circle? Why must you tackle your friends while playing Power Rangers at school (while everyone else simply runs around)? Oh boy... Do I worry?!?! I also worry when you are that kid who would do ANYTHING possible for a little attention (from anyone). I worry. All. The. Time.
I'm sure this "worry" is normal. Typical for ALL moms. Typical for those moms who have more than one child. And especially typical for those moms who have one child with special needs. I hate to say that I worry because of your brother, but I do. You see, he just needs us so much. You need us too, but he needs us "differently" and I'll never know how that has or has not effected you.
It's interesting how us Moms worry so differently about each of our children. I worry about Jayce ~ physically. Will he feel bad that he can't play sports like other kids can? Will he struggle with school because of his hearing loss? Will people pick on him because he looks and plays differently? I worry about these things, but I really don't worry about him emotionally. He's such an easy-going guy. He rarely gets frustrated, even if his legs don't work so good. He never feels left out (that I can tell). He never acts out to get attention, probably because he is always the center of attention... wherever he goes.
I rarely worry about those "obvious" things with you. Most things come fairly easy for you. You try a new sport, you love it and excel. You make friends and love them all, instantly (although we have DAILY discussions about how "nobody likes a mean guy who shoves and tackles"), but you enjoy everyone and rarely feel left out.
The things I worry about for you are those things that I can't see ~ your feelings and what that does to your behavior. You see, you're a lot like me... You're extremely emotional, but you struggle with managing those emotions. If you're feeling sad or lonely or neglected, you act out by being angry or easily frustrated or just down right mean. If you feel embarrassed, you yell at everyone in sight and then you hide. If you feel pressured, you completely shut down and will not try again. A lot of these behaviors are just YOU. It's just how you are, but there's this part of me that wonders... Would you be different if I was able to focus more on you? Have I failed you because my life (and subsequently your life) for 2 entire years was just surviving (emotionally) and taking care of Jayce (physically)?
I've had this conversation and asked that question time and time again, but, to only one person because I know she will never answer me, "Yes. You've failed." She only tells me, "No. Of course not". She tells me this because she knows it's true for herself too.
So, here's what...I have a son with special needs. He is deaf and has Cerebral Palsy. You have a brother with special needs. He is deaf and has Cerebral Palsy. In many ways, this fact has made me (and probably you) a much stronger, compassionate, "live life to the fullest" and "remember each day is a blessing" kind of person.
You are proud of your brother when he does something new. You can answer any stranger on the street who asks about Jayce's Cochlear Implant ~ you tell them his ear doesn't work and that it helps him hear. You answer questions from kids about Jayce's legs and his walker. You understand that some kids are born with problems with their brains and that this means that they may move or act differently than yourself. You accept this fact wholeheartedly with not one second of insecurity or fear. You are full to the brim of acceptance and you respect differences in others. This makes my heart burst with joy and happiness and pride.
But, (there it is again) I'm sure there is and always will be a part of you that hates this. A part of you that hates that your brother is different... That your brother needs more and is noticed more.
I want you to know... From the bottom of my heart... I get it. I totally get it and it's ok. There will be times when you want to run away from the attention that follows your brother. When you don't want to help him stand or walk. When you don't want to tell people why he looks the way he looks or acts the way he acts. Please, please know... I get that and it is OK!
We are all just doing the best we can and sometimes we all need a break. I am here to tell you that I will try with all of my heart to give you a break (and I hope I can do the same for myself... we are a lot alike, remember:)
I guess, at the end of the day, all I want you to know is that you are special and that you are loved. So, so loved. You are my first baby (I remind you all of the time). You are my first true, heart-aching, can't live without it, LOVE. And that, my boy, is the most specialist thing! I will love you for always and forever. As far away as the moon. I SEE you. I see you all day. Everyday. And I am so, so happy that God gave me you... First.
Until next time, Wilby....