Eleven years ago, I gave birth to the most handsome baby boy. Ok, so he more closely resembled an angry, wrinkly, old man. But a handsome one nonetheless.
Each year, as I watch my son blow out his candles, I'm reminded of how far he's come and all he's persevered through.
I've already written about his journey through Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis, so I won't rehash every detail. But what goes through my mind at times like this is his perseverance. Despite the tremendous pain he experienced as a baby, he was a joyful, loving, squeezable little guy. He slept either on my chest in a recliner, or in his car seat. His GI tract had a long way to go just to heal, and he had terrible reflux. I can still remember our 1am, 1:20am, 2am, 2:10am, 2:24am...you get the idea...chats. I'd tell him, as he awoke with little grunts of pain, yet smiling with his big hazels at the sound of my voice, that..."I love you, buddy...you're doing great...Mommy's here."
I'd stare into his face and wonder how a tiny baby could be so strong. I'd whisper to him as he was in and out of painful sleep, telling him to fight, no matter what. I'd sing a special song. It was essentially his name, over and over, in varied octaves. The song in a word? Awful. Plus, my singing voice is about as pleasing as a pimple inside your nose. But he found it comforting.
I can't recall whether or not I shared his vaccine injury at 18mos of age, which included an encephalitic episode, seizure, and projectile vomiting that even Linda Blair couldn't duplicate. Then how, when he awoke the next morning, the spark of those hazels was gone. The resulting dx? Autism. And how a place called the Family Hope Center, through God's direction and healing hand, restored him several years later. It wasn't a cake walk by any means. It required waking each morning at 5:30am or so to begin our program of neurological therapies. That in addition to a full day of 1st grade for him and work for us, then come home and do more therapies. It was a journey through hell and back. Many tears for both of us. Many difficult school conferences. Many "you gotta fight through this" chats...me telling him, and me telling me.
By this point, my son had blown out his 4 candles on the gluten/dairy free cake I made. Yeah, he turned 11...but somebody was too concerned with making the cake than with reminding herself to buy the candles. Mom had 4 in her desk drawer. Probably from when I was little or something.
Fast forward to present day. He's held my hand as I walked around amusement parks wobbly legged. He's lent me an encouraging word if he noticed me feeling a bit down. We are one another's constant reminder to fight through, persevere, 'cause you got this! Hey, maybe being a "fighter" isn't always bad? Just not with parking lot attendants...;-)
Happy Birthday to my little hero. Thank you, Lord, for healing him not once...but twice. May he bring you glory in all he does:-)