This little baby all in stripes was born on December 4, 1999. He weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and was 21" long. He was the perfect addition to our very small family - baby boy #2, the second son in 20 months' time. We knew how to do baby boys, and we felt ready. Then he arrived, and literally slept 20 hours a day for his first two weeks. He was such an easy baby!
But let me back up a minute. That December was the most precious Christmas season to date for me, and actually, Graham's December birth has made Christmas ever so much more meaningful for me than I ever imagined it could be. Something about expecting my own baby son, singing hymns to our Lord and remembering when He came to earth as a baby - I did lots of crying that season! Joyful crying - I felt so connected to Christ's birth, and thinking of the intimacy of it brings me to tears even now.
He continued to bless us as a toddler, too. He's the boy who would bring a smile to our faces all day every day with his silly sayings and his facial expressions and just his funny way of being who he is. He had to have something fuzzy with him at all times. First there was fuzzy bear, then there was his fuzzy green blanket, and then there was Spot. Actually, there continues to be Spot, a Build-A-Bear gift from Grandma Baldwin. I can't even count the times I would be asking him to do something and he would have to stop and gather whatever fuzzies he'd gathered before moving on. It could be a fuzzy from inside a stuffed animal, pulled from a sweater or pillow - anything fuzzy would do.
Graham started to throw a loop in things when he was about 3. He'd been such a delightfully easy baby and toddler, and suddenly he . . . wasn't. He wasn't easy.
We certainly have never wavered in our love for our son, but life with Graham can be trying.
But oh - my - gosh. Be still my heart. How I love and adore my son. How I mourn that today is his last day as a nine-year-old. Letting go of the single digits is painfully hard today.
Son, you are storms and sunshine in my day, every day. We may battle the whole day long, and then at the end of it you might pray to God and thank Him for such a wonderful day, leaving me to weep at the many times I yelled at you to stop whatever crazy thing you'd been doing.
This past few months in particular have been like walking an emotional tightrope, haven't they? I started to suspect that your Tourette's Syndrome wasn't the only thing causing your days to be difficult. I stumbled upon a site about Asperger's Syndrome and my stomach churned as just about everything I read described you perfectly. My heart leaped with hope and nervousness as I sought more information, and eventually, assessments and help. It sunk in sadness when the first therapist we saw said that she was "unusually certain" of this diagnosis for you.
We might be walking a tightrope, Graham, but I hope you always know deep within you that we're walking hand in hand. You, your Daddy, your siblings and me. We all love you more than you might ever know. I worry that our long days might leave you exhausted emotionally, that the negatives so far outweigh the positives. I am praying that as we seek help and guidance, we can turn that around and make life more enjoyable for us all. I wish I had known all of this years ago and had avoided a lot of pain, but I trust that God's timing is perfect.
Graham, I joke with you about just turning 9 again instead of moving on to 10, but someday you will be a Daddy and you will understand how desperate a parent can feel at times to preserve these days. I love waking up and knowing that I will see your face every morning. I love tucking you in at night and hearing your sweet prayers. I love teaching you. I love playing with you. I love watching you grow and change and mature. I love being your Mom.
I love you, just as you are, now and always!