Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Little Boy

This morning a wave of nostalgia hit me. I started reminiscing about Benjamin's baby and toddler days. I remembered the chubby hands and cheeks, the high-pitched giggles and squeals, and the constant kisses and cuddles. I can't help but share a few of my favorite pictures from those early years...

Now, I may be a bit bias as his mother, but can you say CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!! How is it that my chubby baby is now a growing 8-year-old and big brother to a little sister and brother? If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone say, "Enjoy them while they're young because they'll grow up so fast!"...Well...

Honestly, I used to get so tired of hearing people say that, especially before our other children came along. When you have a child with developmental delays certain things feel like they are moving at a snail's pace. Sometimes I wondered just how long the "baby stage" was going to last...

When will he be able to roll over?

When will he be able to sit up?

When will he crawl?

When will he walk?

When will he be able to eat and drink independently?

When will he learn to speak?

How long will he be in diapers?

In reality, there are some of these questions we are still asking, yet many of them are now distant memories. Though many days feel long, years are flying by, and sometimes I wish I could just hold on a little bit longer to certain seasons. Ironically, I often catch myself telling other young moms, "It goes by so fast!" Each stage holds its own challenges, but each stage is unique and precious, and I don't want to take any of them for granted. (There are too many great pictures--I have to share just a few more!)

Earlier this week Benjamin had an eye check-up appointment. The waiting room was full of parents and children as we waited for our turn to be called back. My son was restless, but overall he handled himself extremely well. He sat in my lap or stood in front of me bobbing up and down as I sang him some of his favorite songs. He occupied himself with his unique little vocalizations and characteristic hand-flapping. He tried to wander off exploring a time or two. He hugged my neck like a small child wanting some comfort and reassurance. In short, Benjamin was simply being Benjamin--the little boy I love and cherish... 

...However, the longer we waited, the more aware I became of the looks coming our way from other adults, as well as the unabashed stares from other children. I get it. My son's sounds and behaviors that are so familiar to me are out of the ordinary for others. Things that are different draw attention. No one said anything, and I don't want to presume what people were thinking. I was realizing, though, that we are in a new season. When my son was small, he drew lots of attention because people were simply smitten with his cuteness. He seemed to make friends everywhere we went. (I even had a particularly bold stranger come up and plant a kiss on his cheek when he was a toddler!)  I still think he's an incredibly cute kiddo (more potential mommy bias!), but he's older, and things are changing. And that's okay... 

Benjamin is happy. He is content in who he is. He knows that he is loved. He is secure. He is oblivious to the stares of others. He only knows how to be himself--no pretense, no guile--just a beautiful simplicity...

...And I am PROUD of my son! By God's grace he has overcome incredible hurdles, and I know there is so much we've yet to see. My little boy is growing up, but I still get to enjoy an abundance of kisses and cuddles, just as when he was little. He still wants to crawl up in his mommy's lap. His face still lights up with glee when I pick him up from school each afternoon. I never want to take his sweet affection for granted. 

On the evenings that I put Benjamin to bed (Shawn often does while I take care of the younger two), I am almost always sure to tell him "Benjamin, Mommy loves you so much. I'm proud of you. I'm so happy you're my son!" He smiles and laughs and hugs my neck. I pray over him, and then he giggles as I whisper the familiar words in his ear, "It's bedtime now. Mommy's going to turn on your music, turn off the light, and shut the door. I'll see you in the morning. I love you!" It's our little routine that we've had for years, and he loves it. 

So much life has happened in the eight years since my son's birth. I look back with gratitude for the experiences we've had, and I look forward with expectation for what the future will hold. No matter how many years go by, though, Benjamin will always be my little boy!



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