Yet another sign that time marches on without regard for our desire for it to do so or not. Son #3 graduated from middle school last week in a packed gym at the high school, which he will attend in the fall. I have to say, that since this is my third time around the block with this that I am less outwardly emotional about it. I have become more resolute to the fact that it is occurring, keeping my chin up, and grinning and bearing it although it feels like I'm going to crack into a million pieces.
As mothers, we remember just about everything about the birth process, and in all honesty, it seems like I delivered this boy just a week ago. Of course he was much smaller than the 5’10, 181 pound young man that he is now. In fact, he was a fairly diminutive 5 pounds and 12 ounces.
This is not the first time son #3 has made me feel as though my heart was a piñata. It may seem as though I am directly blaming him for this chest pain, but in reality, I know it is the result of the sweet weakness of a mother who loves her child immensely.
He was a late talker and he used just a few words here and there through his second year of life. We didn’t really think this was a concern because he had two older brothers that were constantly yapping, so he couldn’t get a word in edgewise! When he turned 3, we realized that we had quite a formidable task in front of us.
Son #3 was stuttering, and had severe articulation issues. Not the kind that is “normal” in kids, but the kind that “normal” kids make fun of.The brief memory of him saying (and this is extremely vivid), “I-I-I wuv-wuv-wuv you-you-you” nearly broke me apart.
Not to sound dramatic (as if I haven’t already), his entire life passed in front of my eyes. Being left out of games at school, being teased, becoming frustrated, having trouble finding a job, social isolation, and a myriad of other life experiences that would be challenging. I realize this is not the worst thing that could happen to our family, still, something needed to be done.
We were referred us to a speech language pathologist who recommended that we begin twice weekly therapy. We needed to address both his disfluency his difficulty with articulation and we needed to slow the house down. Clearly this was difficult because we were always seemingly in a rush.
We were successful at giving him his chance to talk, and his brothers were understanding and kind. I made sure that we were ahead of schedule because I knew I would need more time for discussing why he needed to put on a pair of gloves, or why we eat chicken and broccoli instead of candy and chips for dinner.
The private speech therapy was supplemented with extra time via the school district. Eventually, he only received services from the school, but was discharged from the program entirely by 5th grade. He was reading and writing ahead of his grade, and speaking “normally”. Then, apparently, in the blink of an eye, he graduated from middle school and here we are starting the next journey.
I have always found it interesting that when there is a concern as our children are growing up, we think what is currently occurring is the worst thing that could happen. Diaper rash? “Oh my GOD! That’s horrible! Hurry! Rush them to the pediatrician’s office!” Then the next concern comes, and you realize that the diaper rash thing was fairly insignificant. It needed to be taken care of, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t life altering.
That continues through the years until you are ultimately praying that they come home safely after a night out with friends, or that they are not so overwhelmed by the pressure to perform up to some standard that they become suicidal. As they grow, concerns about other things creep in and those worries get bigger and bigger as they get bigger and bigger.
We take things day by day in this life, and I am looking forward to guiding another one through the jungle that is high school. I also intend on enjoying as much of it as possible, and not to fret too much.