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.
Powered by Facebook Comments