The little man turned four yesterday. If we were a typical family, this is the point where I would post photographs of the little man as a newborn and add paragraph after sentimental paragraph about how amazing he is and how I can’t believe he is so big.
That is true, of course. The little man is amazing and I can’t believe he is so big. But our story is a little bit different. I have exactly one photograph of the little man prior to three months old. He is in the hospital attached to machines and wires. The photo was taken so early, the little man looks like a tiny white baby (fyi: the little man is not caucasian). [Incidentally, this is the only image we saw of the little man before he showed up on our doorstep months later.]
For me, birthdays are a strong reminder of my son’s delays. Most days, I can focus on his accomplishments and his growth. Most days, I don’t compare him to other children. When everyone is wishing him a happy 4th birthday however, it is more difficult to stop myself from comparing him to the other children around.
The little man can’t walk, crawl, sit unassisted, talk, etc. He can’t run around the playground and burst into his sister’s room just to annoy her. He can’t pet the dog unless she grants him the opportunity by sitting just close enough.
All of that comes rushing in when I think about my son turning four. That is the depressing part though. Instead of talking about the can’ts, let’s focus on the cans.
The little man can pick out his favorite toys and clothes. He can enjoy being outside and playing with other children in his wheelchair. He can play ball, with some help. The little man can use his infectious smile to brighten a room. He can babble to his grandparents on the telephone. He can collect a list of favorite television shows – The Big Bang Theory, Yo Gabba Gabba, Olivia, Gravity Falls – and get angry if you don’t turn them on. He can communicate his needs to those who know him. He can sit and listen intently when you read a book or sing a song, then ask you for another as soon as you finish. The little man can show his love.
Sounds pretty amazing to me. Let’s celebrate four great years.