Thursday, April 4, 2013


Here we are. Inching up on J's 5th birthday. The number I've been quietly dreading.  And while I am so grateful to have him turn another year older, it's a milestone, and the expectations of a milestone hurt.

 Few facts from hours logged in a College of Ed. lecture hall stand out for me.  One is that birth to five is the greatest language learning stage of life.  Those first five years are the much referenced "window" of early intervention.  Before RDI, I felt five coming down on us much like a guillotine. When the calendar turns to late May, that was it.  Window closed.

Guess what: The brain can do amazing things!  It can be trained to work in new ways.  New neural pathways can be formed.  Five really isn't the "developmental death sentence" I'd feared.

Five years old: Kindergarden looms large. Superhero underpants and capes, tents out back, yucky girls, and a long list of childhood accomplishments.

For us, five doesn't look that way. In my honest, unfiltered moments, I mourn those magic moments of early boyhood that we all missed. Our years were sweet and wonderful. They were just different. And I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt or didn't matter.

Whew. Thanks for letting me say that. This "acceptance" thing don't come easy.

I envy the mothers whose only worry for the next school year is what teacher they'll get. And only paperwork is the postcard in the mail.

And those that can plan such whimsical activities and unique opportunities without carefully made contingency plans.

We have fun-- trips, adventures, surprises. It's just never seemingly effortless. I know... Nothing ever is.

This year, however we celebrate, it will be about us. About THIS five year old boy and what he'd enjoy. Not what never was, not what might be, but this moment. Now.

I love my son-- now. Just as he is. Now. Even when I don't feel it. I love him.
No matter how he performs.

I'm taking a crash course in unconditional love. And one day, I'll ask him to forgive where I just totally screwed up.

Even though I know I already am forgiven.

That's God's love.

One more "All About Jay" day... Tomorrow, I'll be discussing what I would go back and tell myself if I could and how you can encourage a family like ours dealing with a hidden disability such as autism.

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