This post has been in the works for a long time. I have struggled to find the words to say what I really wanted to say, and to be honest, I'm not sure I've found them yet. But saying "thank you", while it doesn't seem like enough, has been at the top of my To-Do list for a while now and I really need to say it. So many of you, friends and family, and blog friends who we've never met, have written or called to offer support, and I literally cannot tell you how much it has meant to me, to us. Everyone had a different perspective, words of kindness and wisdom, and a story to share, and every bit of it was positive. It has all helped immensely, and I will remember your support more than I will remember the low points we've had during this time. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Since I wrote about J's eye condition I haven't really had a moment to dwell on it. We've been busy sorting out referrals and seeing doctors in Hong Kong, trying to find someone who knows anything about it here (so far unsuccessfully). But we've also been busy going to playgroup, painting, eating playdough, playing with the train set, chasing the dog and mastering the new scooter. While his parents were busy freaking out, fretting about the future and making treatment plans, my beautiful boy just got on with being his awesome self. Don't get me wrong, life is definitely different. The task of putting in eye drops is a constant reminder that something is out of the ordinary but it's actually been quite easy to just "get on with it." Doctor's visits and any mention of genetics still make me feel ill but every new thing we learn, and every positive story we hear makes it that little bit easier.
What has helped above all else is watching J and seeing how completely unfazed he is - he has kept my feet firmly on the ground. Not only do I not have time to worry excessively, I don't want to, for fear of worrying him. He clearly isn't concerned with his lot in life and I'm not going to be the one that changes that. I had a bit of a lightbulb moment recently when reading this post on a friend's blog (if you want to read someone telling it like it is, I seriously recommend you check this one out). I realised that no amount of stressing about what is and what will be, will change who my little man is.
He just fell asleep with his little hands firmly clutching my hand to his chest. I lay there curled around him until my arm went to sleep. I got into the habit of getting into bed with him at night when I was working, it was such a short time between getting home and him going to bed that I wanted to spend every single minute with him that I possibly could. Now, of course I have the new baby as an excuse - 5 more weeks of being able to give my firstborn my undivided attention, and if he wants Mummy in bed with him, so be it. Of course it's all driven by guilt and that desperate need to be needed that is every mother's curse, but it's moments like those that make me want to wrap him up and keep him just the way he is forever. That moment when he finally gives up and falls asleep is my new happy place. Until recently I was worried about his dependence on bottles and dummies, and the appalling situation we have found ourselves in at dinnertimes, and all those other "bad habits" parents obsess over, when, let's face it, there were bigger fish to fry around the corner, and our J bird was more than content with the status quo. Contrary to what I once believed, letting my son put himself to sleep with a dummy and a bottle of milk at 2 years of age, does not make me a bad mother. Constantly worrying about everything we're doing "wrong" and getting in the way of our kid being himself, is a far worse crime if you ask me. And if anything, our recent woes have taught me that there is a lot more in life to worry about.
Of course, kids need consistent guidance and rules and boundaries and vegetables, and those things are ever-present in our house. But sometimes it doesn't hurt to let them lead the way, it might even be the best thing possible for everyone. In our case my son has taught me to let go and enjoy the moment, and that he will continue to be whoever he wants to be, no matter what obstacles are in his way, or how much I worry about him. And in our house that's how we keep it real, one day at a time.