Thursday, October 13, 2011
Days go by without much to note in Oli's world.
Breakfast is still called "breakfast," or "lunch," but never dinner, because, well, no meal is called "dinner."
There is toilet time afterwards, where Oli (5 years old in 6 weeks) sits, unsure of what may or may not happen. We sit until the stack of picture books is exhausted, or until Mani bangs on the door demanding to use the facilities, which ever happens first.
Songs are sung at preschool Bible time, and Oli knows many words by heart. His toneless voice can't hide his joy as he flings his arms in the air and performs the hand signs. This is his favorite point in the day, I am sure. He can't tell me this vital bit of information, but a Momma just knows this kind of thing.
The teenage girl reading his favorite book to him is adored, but he has no idea what her name is. The two older boys who flounce around this place are both called "Logan." When corrected, a dull, "Oh," is all he offers.
The same skill is practiced over and over until it seems old hat. And then, magically, it disappears. Oli shows no frustration, only bewilderment. I bite the inside of my cheeks and pray hard, harder, hardest.
There are therapies, small motor skills, flashcards, speech exercises, physical activities. There are food allergies to navigate and boo-boos to kiss and short, Oli-sized explanations about everything he encounters, in case this is the moment when the world opens up and he grabs onto something and doesn't let go.
There are always sweet bedtime sighs and a contended, blissful relaxation as he snuggles deep into the jersey knit sheet that he has claimed as his sole property. There is a prayer that he repeats but does not understand.
And then the lights go out, and the day is over. Tomorrow will be exactly the same. Two steps forward, perhaps. Three steps back, most likely. But still, another day. Another chance for a miracle.
Some days, we get those miracles. Full sentences. Abstract thoughts. Questions that poke at deeper places. A shred of a song sung at random that hasn't been heard in months.
These are the moments that keep me going, keep me giving, keep me chasing the spark behind those brilliant blue eyes.
Today, we had a miracle. Today, Oli walked through the kitchen while I stood measuring out tablespoons of his special wheat-, dairy-, and egg-free cookies dough onto the waiting tray. He paused, craned his neck back to see what I was doing, then grabbed my left knee impulsively. I was slightly caught off guard. Oli rarely shows any unsolicited emotion, let alone such enraptured joy.
Then he whispered, "I wush you, Mommy," into the folds of my skirt, and walked away.
I wush you, Mommy.
Be still my heart.
Tomorrow I will spend precious time making a special batch of allergen-free goodies to tide Oli through the rest of the fall baking season. Hours will be poured into pottying, reading, laboriously coaxing him through countless tasks that might--maybe--serve him as he grows. I will remind him yet again of Seven's name, not to bite Mani, to stop banging his head on the glass door. And I will do it with a lighter step, a cheerful heart, and renewed optimism.
Because today, I saw the miracle. I wush you, Mommy. It goes a long, long way.