I was next in line at the Starbucks in Target. And as I was wandering a thousand miles away, thinking of events that had unfolded earlier today, the barista leaned over and said, “I’ll be right with you, Brenda.” She knew my name. More than that, she remembered me. I hadn’t stood in that line in months, opting instead to hit up the drive thru on the way home from Zeke’s school or church, lest you think my Starbucks habit is improving. Yet, she remembered. And that spoke volumes to my weary soul.
I sat holding Zeke in the backseat of my car as the sun was setting outside and the light was waning in the garage. It was quiet, aside from his heavy sighs as the tears fell down his cheeks onto my jacket. His sadness was a mixture of things too complicated for him to possibly understand and things so common to all of us. He was brave all day at school – his last day at school – and now he could just be. I crawled into his seat with him and held him as he cried. Telling him tears are ok. Being sad is ok. He could feel all the hurt of saying goodbye to his teacher and his friends, and I could feel it too. And I wished, once again I wished it could be different for him. That everything could be easier. That he could be just like the other kids. Typical, without so many struggles and needs.
Zeke has a few cavities. Probably more than a few. Yes, we tried to avoid that reality. We really did try. But for a child who has FASD, or any number of other disabilities, and is extremely protective of his mouth, it’s rather impossible. From a few weeks old when he vehemently started refusing the pacifier and his bottle, we knew we were in for a long term battle in that area. Thankfully, he eats now, though he remains extremely picky, and he does brush his teeth. His way, and don’t you dare try to help him. Thus, cavities.
Some thoughts are long in the works. They mull around in my mind for days, weeks, and in this case, years before they come streaming out into some semblance of discourse. They are wrought with emotion at the beginning and full of resolve as I process them through. These are those thoughts. The reality is I could have written them down years ago, with less anecdotal evidence or personal experience brought to the table, but with the same conclusions drawn in the end. And that is quite sad. That needs to change.
Little Mister will be seven on Friday. Seven. It seems unfathomable that the years have passed so quickly since I first stared into his muddy blue eyes, which would soon turn the most beautiful shade of chocolate brown. Seven years since I first held him. Seven years since I first began to love him. At over four feet tall, he’s not so little anymore, but he will always be my baby, the youngest of our three. And he will always be the baby of his birth mom, the youngest of her three as well. He’s loved, well loved.