October 22, 2010

The Child in My Heart

Hey you, you're a child in my head
You haven't walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you'll be blessed
And you, you'll be blessed
You'll have the best
I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You'll be blessed
--Elton John, You'll Be Blessed

My son has some of the most beautiful hazel eyes I have ever seen. The colors in his eyes sparkle when he is happy.

His laugh is contagious.

But is he the child in my head??? The child I envisioned when I learned one December day eight years ago that I was expecitng my first child?


I don't think I was envisioning too much in particular. I wanted a boy, but I never told anybody that. I secretly yearned for a baby boy simply because I knew how very much my husband wanted one. And I just felt it -- from early on in the pregnancy. I knew the child growing in me was going to be a big, strapping boy.

And he was.

He also was, and still is, absolutely gorgeous.

But like most moms, while my tummy expanded and my feet swelled, my thoughts mostly were focused on my baby's health.

Would he come out with ten toes and ten fngers and everything in the right place?

Just after I gave birth, and the nurse stepped away with my baby to check him out and clean him, I kept asking my husband, "Does he look OK? Does everything look OK?"

As if anybody was going to be able to take one glance at this child who just miraculously entered the world and say, "Yes, eveything is OK."

I now realize: it just doesn't work that way.

My baby boy DID look just like the baby in my head.
But there was something in his head that was not right.

There was a time, during my never-ending struggle to deal with my son's autism, when I could not even look at pictures from his first year of life.

How sad.

Now, I occasionally look at the pictures from his infancy and toddler years, and I play, "Can you find the autism."

WHEN should I have known?

Sigh ....

Daniel is not the child I saw in my head.

He struggles.

And I worry:

Who will be there for him when I no longer can be?
Who will make sure that his life is a happy one?
How can I ensure that he becomes all he can be?
And given all his problems, all of his obstacles, how will I make sure that my son truly is blessed?

Talk about worries ....

No, Daniel is not the child I envisioned in my head.

But he is the child who occupies so much of my mind ....

And so very, very much of my heart.

He is my constant reminder that there are no guarantees in life.

And that we get only one chance to be happy ...

One life .... one complicated, messy, beautiful life.

And when it is over, there are no more opportunities to be happy.

He is my reminder that I should look for happiness.
And seize it when it is in front of me.

Because if my boy -- my beautiful, but challenged son -- can find happiness in his life -- and, oh how he does -- then surely, so can I.

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