When Ashlyn was four or so and going through all kinds of medical tests, as kids with autism do, I remember one particularly awful appointment. She needed to be sedated and her IV wouldn’t go in and then she fought the anesthesia and I stood there trying to hold her and not cry or scream or faint. I cursed autism and single-parenthood and intake staff that did not mention I should be able to bench press 350 pounds in order to help my child through the test preparation.
Before she woke up from anesthesia I was able to sit with Ashlyn as she slept. I sat and watched her sleep for hours, the stress of our earlier battle puddled to the floor and drained from the room. Her eyelids fluttered once in a while and I curled her never-still hands around mine and was overcome with the feeling of being lucky just to be there. To be her mom, to be at the end of these moments, the first person she sees.
On Sunday, Sawyer turned four. The flu had made the rounds through our house and somehow my stomach had to make it through his birthday pick of a ride on an old-fashioned train As we bumped along, he chose my lap for just a few moments. His arms wrapped around mine and his head bounced with the tracks until it rested against my own. The rustling of the ride changed to a lull of quiet as the birthday boy watched the world go by with me.
On Monday, Parker graduated from preschool (and McKenna from “Mommy preschool”) and I fought the bittersweetness. There was a space where their sister should be everywhere I looked. As he turned to blow a kiss I glimpsed the curve of Parker’s head, that exact curve wasn’t heavy enough to dent a NICU blanket when he was fighting for his own life just a few fragile years ago. His thrown kiss arched right my way, hitting the edge of my smile.
On Tuesday, Ashlyn graduated from high school. The graduates had to be there an hour early and she wanted me to drop her off. I put on her gown and zipped it up and tried to remember which side her tassel should hang. She let me hold her hand and pull her through overwhelming crowds and as I watched her blink and startle and turn from the noise I felt so honored just to be there for her, to be her last support as high school ended. I collected the moment and took it with me as I watched her walk across the stage.
Our week of milestones is nearly over but I will forever be in awe of the heartbreakingly beautiful, tearfully wonderful pieces of being a mother.
Every single one of them my own.
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Bad Parenting Moments says
Beautiful Motherhood. Congratulations on all the lasts leading to new firsts and new celebrations that will be yours.
Kim at Let Me Start By Saying says
And then I cried and cried as I read because I know that feeling of Mine.
What a huge week for you! I’d feel like I needed a serious vacation after all of that emotion-draining (and sickness).
It is amazing to be a part of their ride from the good and bad. As they grow so do we. Life is good like that.
Congrats to your “baby” girl. Sigh…adult…is that weird to say? Gah.
Sorry about the flu bug.
PS. Should’ve came to me. I was the queen of IV. I’ve placed them in fingers if needed be. And I was gentle….because kids are delicate
This is such a beautiful reminder that in looking forward, we can also look back and see just how sweet our children’s’ victories are. Thank you!
P.S. I’ve totally been there with the IV thing — who’d a thunk such a little thing could put up such a fight?
All huge things. It is so bittersweet to see our kiddos pass from one place in their lives to the next. Congratulations to all your kiddos on their achievements and a kiss to your angel.
Jessica, what an amazing week you have had! I admire your strength and courage as a mom. You have been through so much and continue to find the positive. Take care as you all pass onto the next big stages.
Sue - The Spin Cycle says
That is a seriously major week. Congratulations to you all.
Aside – My artificial flowers in my front porch pots and I are envious of you and your real deal.
Wow – what a big week. Beautiful and bittersweet. Congratulations to you all. Sending hugs and hope (and perhaps an uneventful or at least quieter next week . . . ) xo
Rach (DonutsMama) says
Congrats to you and your children on hard earned and well-deserved achievements. You’ve done a great job.
Congrats on so many wonderful milestones and on your four beautiful children!
That’s a lot to handle all at once. Wow. Beginnings and endings and new beginnings all mixed up together. Big hugs for you and congrats for your babies.
It has been a lot. I wish we could have at least stretched them out so I only had one tearful milestone per week :). It was all so great though.
Single Mom in the South says
Congrats on the milestones. You have such a wonderful way of capturing the poignancy of it all.
Thank you, I struggled with capturing it all the way I wanted to so your comment means a lot.
Kim@Co-Pilot Mom says
This is beautiful. I love the pieces of motherhood, too. It is amazing to see those moments, their beginnings and endings.
Isn’t it? This week, especially, I just felt in awe of being a part of it all.
Congrats, Jessica. What a beautiful week and a beautiful family!