And those changes are so bittersweet to me. I love experiencing the joys of expanding communication, learning to read, improved balance, developing strong friendships and exerting independence and yet with each new accomplishment I feel my baby slipping away. There are times when I long for that little boy who reached out to me for help with everything. Now, instead, I seem to get little hands reaching out to push mine away when I reach in to help. Requests and suggestions are often met with defiance and a deep need to find your own way to reach the goals you are striving towards. When we go places you no longer seem to have the need to be in the same room as I am - or even to come back in and check that I'm still there every once in a while. And although most times I marvel at the independent little boy you have become and feel good that all "we" have worked towards is happening, there are also times where I lock myself in the bathroom and have a little cry over it.
I looked back through pictures from those first months that you were home and remember that little boy who loved to be carried around in the snuggli. You would let me know in no uncertain terms when I put you down that it was not where you wanted to be. I saw a glimpse then of the streak in you that I knew would be my greatest test as a parent - but also my greatest reward when I saw you use it to get up time and again and achieve goals that others may never have believed you could achieve! I treasured and nurtured that part of your personality even though at times I wondered if I could make it through another battle (and I still wonder that at times).
My greatest joy this past year is to see the friendship that you have developed with little Madison. I love that when you see her it seems that I no longer exsist to you and you go running with your arms open for a hug. I love watching the two of you wrestling and playing all the games you so enjoy playing. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have special friendship feelings for her and in watching the two of you play together I have realized one more dream that I've had for you. I pray each day that you will always have people like Madison in your life - people who live in a world that doesn't include the words "special needs" or "disability" or any other equivalent form. To have witnessed this friendship gives me hope.
This next year of your life will bring some big changes. I find it so hard to believe that the next time I write a birthday letter I will be writing it to a full-fledged grade 1 student. I remember in those first months having you home thinking about how things will go once you were in school and feeling like it was so far away that it was silly for me to even spend time on it. And here we are - only months away from the IEP meeting where we will lay out your grade 1 program!
I look forward to another year with you... learning the lessons that you will teach me... dancing on rainbows and never even realizing that there is a pot of gold at the end of it because it just doesn't matter! I look forward to a year of battles and struggles and brief flashes when it is so obvious why we go through those battles! I look forward to you coming in to my room each morning and leaping on to me while you wish me a good morning. I look forward to the discoveries you will make this year and the lives you will touch. And I look forward to going in to your room each night, shifting your covers around, running my hand over your head, kissing your cheek and whispering a prayer of thanks that will never be sufficient for the gift that I have been given!
Thank you God for blessing me with Mikey!