I always wanted to be a mother. When I was a kid, I played with dolls and had tea parties, like many girls did, but it wasn't until later that I learned I had a natural nurturing quality in me. I've always sort of had a calm temperament, and everyone has always told me I am so much like my mom. She passed away at a very young age from breast cancer, she was the most beautiful woman, inside and out. I only had her for 5 years, but I feel like I know her so much more, because of all the stories I've been told. I want to become more like her; she seemed to be the perfect sister, mother and wife. She is another one of my angels, and she has a beautiful little granddaughter with her now.
It was Ethan that made me a mother though. And my was I ever blessed. I went through hard times when he was an infant, as everyone does, they are growing and changing everyday, and not sleeping when you want them to, and once you think you have a new routine down, it changes the next day. But with every change you are learning more about yourself which shapes your role as a parent, and individual. Ethan taught me to slow down, he taught me to be calm and patient. Having a child showed me the enduring love and strength I could have. I'm beyond blessed to have him, he is always so happy, and so smiley.
Ethan was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay early on. It really isn't a diagnosis, it's more of a label for children with several delays and medical issues that are unexplainable. It has been really tough on our family emotionally, and spending time at weekly, monthly, and yearly appointments with therapists, doctors, and specialists. Most people don't know the severity, most people wouldn't even ask, and most people think he will be okay. I know he will be okay, not only because I have hope, but because I will accept whatever it is that he will become and grow up to be, and that I will help shape that in the best way I can. By attending every appointment, and by making decisions about him and his care, so that he gets the best possible chance for his future. Some people may have a difficult time accepting it, claiming he will likely grow out of it, but they're not living and breathing his experience with me. I have to be present in the moment, and what he is today.
People often are most concerned with his language delays, because communicating is integral to everyday life. But speaking is not the only way to communicate. There are many ways to communicate, and he uses a lot of them. I am reminded often about other children that didn't talk until they were 4, 5, 6 or whatever. One thing I've learnt is that you can't compare children at any age or ability. Ethan won't talk when he is 4 (which is this May), he may not even be talking when he is 5 either, and I'm okay with that. Ethan is actually already talking, he talks a lot, he's trying so hard, he just can't make the right sounds. We still communicate so much. We use gestures, signs, and pictures to ease his frustrations. Ethan's oral motor issues are to blame for not only language difficulties, but also eating challenges. He also has a hard time using the muscles in his mouth appropriately. He is eating much better, and has learned how to chew, and he is so motivated to speak.
In my eyes, Ethan is perfect, he may be severely behind, but that just means I have to slow down even more, and I love it. People always say their children grow up and change so quickly, well thankfully Ethan spends a lot of time in each developmental phase that I really get to enjoy it.
Ethan and Isabel were both my dreams come true. And I am living through their eyes each day.