Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tears for My Son


For the first time in several weeks Andrew showed a renewed interest and eagerness in using his medical walker last night and was quickly cruising through the house. Every so often he would stop and flash that dimple over his shoulder to make sure I was watching him and I could just see the pride glowing in his expressions. I'm not sure what has sparked him to try the walker again, I guess he had gotten frustrated with it in the past and felt crawling was faster. But now probably seeing his brother walking all over the place helped motivate him.

As I stood there watching him I was caught off guard by the depth of emotions that welled up within in me and my eyes filled with tears. I too was so very proud of him. Proud that he was making himself mobile, proud that he was so determined. But if I'm perfectly honest, mixed in with my tears of joy was a sadness that I carry with me. Sad because a lifetime ago when I pictured my precious little ones taking their first steps, that sweet vision was never bombarded by a bulky metal medical device. I was so blissfully naive. I could never have imagined my child would not be close to walking at 18 months old. Never did I expect that the little ones in my life would have to fight so hard for everything we so typically take for granted.

Please don't mistake my words here. I know how blessed we are, how blessed Andrew is. He's alive, he's happy, he's making such progress. I know so many others have it a lot worse. I know God has a perfect plan, I know that He loves Andrew so much more than even I do. But just because I know these things are true doesn't mean Andrew's life is easy. It doesn't mean that I don't mourn the "normal" life I once pictured long ago or that I see my friends and family lead. For me to pretend like Andrew's life is totally normal and easy and that we never feel sorrow or fear the future is just not accurate and it minimizes the trauma that Andrew has been through in his short life. That's just not fair to him. And I don't think it lessens our faith and love any either, it's just reality. Can't I be both overjoyed and sorrowful at the same time? Just because he "looks fine to me" doesn't mean that his life isn't impacted every day by his tough start in this world.

You may be thinking "get over it already". Believe me when I say that I would like nothing more than to put this all behind us. But it's easier said than done. Not a day goes by that I'm not constantly reminded of what we've been through and the challenges Andrew has faced, it's hard to put it in the past when every single week day we attend some sort of therapy session or doctors appt. It's hard to forget that I have a DVD in my safe that's full of thousands of images of my son's brain and nothing I can do will change the fact that his brain doesn't look like it should.

Yes, he is a living miracle! Yes, I'm SO proud of him. Yes, I wouldn't trade him for any other. But just because I feel this way doesn't mean there is no pain. I hurt when I know that he wants to get down and play like his brother but he can't because the ground will tear up his knees as he crawls. I hurt when people say things that sting, even though I know their intentions weren't to cause pain. A month or so ago we were waiting for our therapist at the rehab pool when a group of old ladies asked what he was doing there and what was wrong with him. When I tried to give a brief explanation they replied "Well at least he's cute" and walked away. I know they weren't trying to be ugly, but it still stung. I'm so proud to be the mother of twins and so recently when someone asked if they were twins and I proudly said yes, I was totally caught off guard when their reply was "Well then why can't that one walk?" I'm sorry but "that one" is my son and he's perfect, who cares if he's not walking!!

Today I took Andrew's walker to rehab so that his trainer could help him use it most effectively and my heart was swelling with excitement as he walked with it all by himself up and down a very long corridor over and over. His therapist and I were cheering him on and he was grinning from ear to ear when this old man walked by and stopped to stare. His only comment in the most dismissive tone was "At least he can smile about it". The therapist was actually more upset then I was so I know that I wasn't just being overly sensitive to the situation.

Right now Andrew is blissfully unaware of other's perceptions of him but he's only going to keep getting older and how will I as his mother protect him? How can I guard his heart from this cruel world? Yes I know he will have a great character because of this. I know he is tough and will handle it and overcome it. Yes, I know he will do great things in this world.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt . . . . .

Andrew,

My precious son. I love you, I love you, I love you with all that I have and all that I am. No one has inspired me, taught me, or shown me God's awesome power more than I've seen in you. You have been through more in your short life than most adults I know and you've handled it with an amazing attitude and strength. No one has the right to diminish you or your accomplishments. No one has the right to judge your worth to this world. I am so grateful that God allowed me to be your mother, so grateful that I've witnessed His grace in your life. You are such a gift to our family.

Love Mama

31 comments:

Kelly said...

Thank you for always being so honest about your emotions. You have every right to mourn the loss of the normalcy that you expected for your life and your boys lives'. I think that walking is one of the most painful milestones for preemie moms because so many questions are asked about it. My son was 17 months when he walked and I actually had people ask me if he was just lazy. You are a wonderful mother and everything that your boys' have accomplished and will accomplish in the future is because you work so hard for them and believe in them.

Ashhog said...

I LOVE that look over his shoulder! He is precious. I am so sorry that some people in this world have no tact. I know that Andrew will have a HUGE impact on this world. His story and your incredible faith has already touched me deeply. Way to go Andrew! I have never met you but I am SO proud of you!

Mom and Wife said...

That is a sweet video. You never have to guard your feelings...anybody that knows you at all knows how much you love your boys and how you feel is so normal.You are a wonderful mom to amazing boys.

Perri said...

Lindsey, He is an amazing little boy. I suggest when someone asks, "What's wrong with him?", you smile sweetly and say, "Nothing. He's perfect."

Kierstyn said...

I have tears for your son too. Way to go Andrew! What a brave, strong, amazing little guy you are.

Aidan's mom said...

Lindsey,

First...the over the shoulder look was just the cutest! Thanks for sharing.

You should be immensely proud of Andrew. He is accomplishing more than it might have originally looked on paper.

However, you also have every right to have comingled tears of joy and sorrow. Nothing will take away the experience of watching them born too soon and the struggles and worries.

I am so sorry that you have to feel this way, but I am glad to see that you are able to honestly face both your love for your children as well as the sorrow over prematurity. It shows a woman of immense strength to do both.

As for strangers comments, I have something I like to say to people who ask rude questions and it usually makes them stop in their tracks..."That's an odd question. Why do you ask?"

It puts the ball back in their court and nobody ever knows what to say.

Thanks for sharing Lindsey.

Andrew is beautiful and amazing and so are you.

Lynn said...

Of course I'm not in your situation but I would think that everything you shared is perfectly "normal" if there is such a thing. This situation would definitely bring forth all sorts of mixed emotions.....
Lifting you up in prayer right now!
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

iPau said...

I wish my English could allow me too express all my admiration for such a sweet and brave little boy as Andrew. He is (and Adam too) a miracle, he's an example of life and courage. Thank you for letting us know how wonderful character he has and how everyday he show us how amazing God's power is.

Harris Boys said...

I love the over the shoulder grin, too cute.

thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life and the struggles your family indures. I have tears in my eyes as I read your post. You should be so proud of both your sons as I know they are for you. Way to go Andrew, keep up the great work!

Sarah Furlough said...

What an amazing mother you are. Both of your boys are such miracles, and I celebrate with you each of their milestones.

I too wish that they did not have to work so hard to accomplish the things we all take for granted. However, watching them work so hard has taught all of us to be brave in the face of adversity.

Thanks for sharing your faith and your beautiful boys. God certainly has a plan for them!

Ashley said...

Isn't it sad that at all ages people have comments when they have no idea what is going on! He is precious and I love that sweet smile when he was looking back at you! He will have such a testimony to share with others when he is older, thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. Praying for your sweet boys! Blessings to all of you!

Anonymous said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes! Andrew is an AMAZING little guy - so is Adam. Don't let the ignorance of others tear you or your sons down. I cannot imagine what some of these folks are thinking when they open their mouths! Keep in mind that the "older" generation was raised differently around people who have "special" needs. I mourn for the loss of never being a mother and I believe it's normal to mourn over having a full term baby, never getting married, etc. You are right though, you are blessed times two! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings - it makes US better people. Give Andrew and Adam a hug!

lala00 said...

Way to go, Andrew! He's brought tears to my eyes as well and we're cheering him on every step of the way. I believe he could inspire anyone with his determination, if only they'd take the time to understand how hard he's worked to do things we take for granted.

Taylor said...

Thanks for your honesty, Lindsey.

Your boys ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! They are so precious and we cheer Andrew's accomplishments with you! Go big Drew! :-) He has such a sweet spirit!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

What a sweetheart! I love his little over-the-shoulder grin:)
I am so proud of all he has accomplished,and he is so lucky you are his mommy:)
Jobie

Collegegirl said...

LOVE the sweet smile over the shoulder! He is so cute and has endured so MUCH! Never feel that you have to hold back your feelings! YOU are an AWESOME mom and your boys are SO CUTE!!!
~Elyse~

Courtney said...

fine, make me cry...
your family is so awesome and has inspired many. you are such a strong mommy and i am so proud to have found your blog. andrew is going to be an amazing man!!! and adam is a charmer

Whitney said...

I have tears of joy with you! You have every right to feel the way you do and there is nothing wrong with those emotions. You are an amazing mom and it shows in your boys. You want the best for your kids and you want it to come easy for them - sounds like a perfect mother's wish to me!

Whitney

Brenda said...

Hi Lindsay, I've followed your blog since the boys were born and your post today nearly broke my heart. I think I'm guilty of saying those "reassuring" things to parents of children with a little extra need/help thinking I was helping. I will definately think again next time. Your boys are a miracle and they will blossom and grow like weeds!

Rachel said...

lindsey,

i'm so sorry that people can't bite their tongue or think before they speak...your post brought tears to my eyes. i'm praying for you and your amazing little man!

Lynn said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Psalms 94:17-18, 22 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up...But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

Allison said...

Wow! People (myself included) say the darndest things when they don't know what to say! I give you major credit for not punching or chewing out any of those people. God made no mistake when He chose you to be the mommy of Adam and Andrew. You have amazing strength and grace.

Rebecca & Nathaniel said...

Having those feeling makes you human! You are the most awesome mother that anyone could ask for. Andrew and Adam are so very lucky! I am so very proud of Andrew. He is such a fighter. That look over the shoulder is priceless. Your boys are too cute for words.

John & Kelly said...

Lindsey,

Thank you for helping to heal my heart! Your words helped me tonight to accept what I am constantly trying not to feel! You are a beautiful and gifted mother! Thank you for taking time out of your day to pour into others!

Andrew,

You aren't even 2 yet and you are light, inspiration, and joy to our family. To watch you grow is hope - given by God to our family. You are an amazing little man!

Kelly - Kyle's Mom

Rachel said...

My heart breaks with you that you have to deal with hurtful comments and the fear of the future for Andrew. You truly are an amazing mama and what you feel is so normal. We don't deal with it on nearly the same basis, but I can totally understand how hard it is to hear ignorant comments about your child. I am amazed at all the boys are doing and how much they have overcome. You and your family are an inspiration to so many!!! Thanks for always being real and open about the joys and the struggles.

Chris & AnnMarie said...

Wow! If he isn't the most precious thing ever, I don't know what is! Thanks for sharing the video and your thoughts/emotions. Your family is so beautiful and an inspiration to us all!

Ann Marie
Coy's mom
prayforcoy.blogspot.com

23wktwinsmommy said...

Very beautiful, it made me cry.

I feel so similar to you. I too have twins, one walking/nearly running, and the other just learned to crawl on hands and knees a couple of weeks ago...they are 20 months old.
Our PT is still not recommending we try a walker...it's frustrating and I feel so conflicted. He is limited to crawling in our house and being held or in a stroller outside most times because he has sensory issues with the grass. I want to show PT your blog. Her latest this week was, "we can try the walker whenever you want...not for Edwin but for you." uuggghhh! I just want my guy to be able to try to explore his world standing up...I just want to try. Is that so wrong?

Way to go Andrew! You are soo amazing! I hope Edwin can follow your lead soon!

abby said...

Andrew is doing so wonderfully and you are an amazing advocate for him. I am proud of what both of your guys are doing (and what the two of you are doing for them as parents), and there are many many more milestones to come that they'll meet and exceed!

Jacob and Andi said...

I think the tactless comments show how woefully ignorant people are of God's diversity.

Wonderfully made, Lindsay. Perfect in every way.

liz.mccarthy said...

Don't ever feel that you anyone should tell you just get over it or move on.. You still are on a road that you have no idea where it will take you....

Ohhh, grrr, and the comments people make! It burns me up!

What a great post!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written and so well said.
Your boys are so lucky to have parents like you and Kenny.
Sending you big hugs and an extra one for Andrew and Adam!
I too get the rude comments about Emily and it is so hard. I never know what to say, but I certainly feel the sting.
Aimee