My Hope Baby no longer wants to be my ‘Hope Baby.’ I’ve always called her Hope Baby, but now she wants to be called ‘Hope Big Girl.’ Because, you know, at 2 ½ years old, she is so not a baby.
I don’t want her to grow up. Wah!
I told Hope that I wouldn’t mind changing diapers for the rest of my life if she would just stay my cuddly baby forever. I’m sure many parents know this sentiment ( – maybe not the changing diapers part, but you know what I mean). We want to hold onto to their adorable baby-cuteness and innocence and exuberance for as long as we can. (My favorite is Pixiemama begging her son Finn on the eve of his birthday “not to turn two tomorrow.”)
It occurred to me that I never felt this with Rhema. I never wanted to hold onto her babyhood. Before her diagnosis, I spent most of the time worrying about how different she was from other children. After the diagnosis, I was busy racing the clock, trying to play catch up, willing her to reach those elusive milestones. And yes, in many ways I was just trying to survive… to keep my head through endless meltdowns and sleeping problems and poop art and feeding disorders and sensory issues and oodles of therapy hours. Like Adam Sandler in the movie Click, I often wanted a universal remote to fast forward to the day when she was “fixed.”
She’s only five now. But she is my big girl, tall, lovely and mysterious. So not a baby anymore. And I realize that I did not enjoy her as much as I could. Looking back I wish I had cherished her more.
Would I still do all the therapy? Would I still send my then 3 year old – with a backpack bigger than she was – to a special school an hour away? Would I still read all those books and articles, attend all those meetings? Would I still fret over special diets and supplements? Yes, yes, and yes. I believe she/we needed and benefited from all of it.
But I would have taken more moments to just be enamored with my baby girl.
So I say, if you have a young one on the spectrum, delight in her/him now. Be purposeful about it.
Today I’m choosing to be thankful for today, and trusting that God will bless me with time to thoroughly treasure both my girls.