I feel like I've known you forever and yet, it seems like just yesterday when they placed you in my arms for the very first time. How did nine years pass by so quickly? You, my boy, are my heart. You are so loving and giving, not of your things, but of yourself. You are always on the alert for ways to make someone smile, whether it's making my bed or playing Barbies with your sisters. It seems unfair that someone as generous and loving as you should have to struggle the way you have. Sometimes I want to rail at the world that you have to deal with so many challenges. Challenges that sometimes seem like they're too much for you, but they aren't, and they never have been.
I remember forcing myself to sit in my chair when you were just a year old, watching you with your Early Intervention teacher. She would be trying to get you to reciprocal play or sign the word help or stop spinning wheels and play with the car. You would be protesting...shrieking and turning yourself away from her. Sometimes you turned to me, with your arms stretched out and your face pleading with me to rescue you. But we strapped you into your seat and there was no where to go. You had to learn to do these things, even though they took you out of your comfort zone and tested the limits of your abilities. And I had to let her do this. It took every ounce of my being not to jump up and undo the buckle and hold you till you stopped your fussing. My heart broke into a thousand pieces every single time. I physically hurt inside that I couldn't help you in the way that you wanted.
Month by month I watched and you began to take baby steps; steps so small they were barely noticable. You rolled the car to Sheila, instead of flipping it over and silently spinning it's wheels. You smiled at her and prodded some playdough with one finger. Then you began to sign. Nothing in this world will compare to the time you first signed your very first word..."more". You slid down a slide and at the bottom looked up at Daddy and I, and took your tiny little finger and poked it into the center of the palm of your other hand. It wasn't exactly the right motion but we knew what you were saying. Much like any parent understands their child's baby talk. We were so overjoyed I think we let you slide on that slide all afternoon...crying with delight when you'd sign "more" at the bottom each time. As the months passed you added many more signs to your vocabulary and then you began to speak.
The years have flown by too fast. I still watch you struggle with things that are outside your comfort zone. I still have to hold myself back from jumping in to save you. My heart still shatters every time you turn to me with tears in your eyes from dealing with a world that sometimes seems too difficult. I still marvel at your strength, determination and perseverence.
People sometimes say to me "He's come so far...because of you and all your hard work." I am not the one who's had to do the hard work though. I can't take credit for the person you are, for the things you can do. You find within yourself all you need to take on the world and succeed. I am no more than your pit crew. I'll find the tools and help to get you on the track. But you win the race all on your own. I'm proud of you Sam. I remember when they placed you in my arms, you took my breath away with your perfection.
You still do. I love you.