We have about a million hours of video footage of the kids, and are finally in the process of transferring the tapes to DVD (so we can actually watch them). Yesterday I put one of the DVDs on. The one that got randomly chosen started when my son, D, was 21 months old and ended a few months after his birthday. His entire 2-year old birthday party is recorded, which reveal a very pregnant Sugar Magnolia (my daughter, A, was born just 2 months after his 2nd birthday). I hadn't seen this since we shot the video, and I, too, was entranced.
It was amazing to see how little D was. At the time, he seemed so grown up, like such a big boy. He was always very precocious, even at that age. We have footage of him, at 21 months old, singing the entire alphabet. He had the Fisher Price Little People A to Z Zoo and was rattling off the names of all 26 animals---even obscure ones like ostrich, nightingale and yak. After the birthday party scene, we have footage of him riding his tricycle for the first time (a gift from my father and step-mother) and although J had to help him a bit, he pretty much understood how to ride it.
The more I watched, the more my emotions changed. First I felt happy reliving these fun moments. Then I felt nostalgic. I don't remember D being this young, and again I felt like time is getting away from me. Suddenly I felt awe. After having A, with all her developmental delays, it absolutely floored me that D knew the alphabet at 21 months and was riding a tricycle at 2. Finally, I felt sad. The things that come so easily to D are so hard for A. When she was 2, she had just started to crawl. Even now, at 4 1/2, she doesn't a trike with half the finesse that D did at age 2.
Since D was my first child, and was either developmentally on time (said his first word before he was one, walked at 13 months) or even early (he was reading at age 3) I thought that's what all kids did. When he was born, he latched on right away and was a champion nurser until I weaned him at 14 months old. He sat through, and understood, his first movie (Curious George) at age 2. I never appreciated how TYPICAL my son is. He hit all his milestones---speech, gross motor, fine motor, feeding, even potty training--when he was "supposed" to.
It never occurred to me that my second child would have so many challenges. Not able to eat and require a feeding tube? Not being able to walk until age 3 1/2? Not passing her hearing test and requiring hearing aids? It wasn't on my radar. But now I celebrate her milestones with a fervor that I never felt with my son. Sure, when D hit his milestones I was the proudest mama ever. I relished every little thing he did--and I still do. But with A, it's different. I don't just relish her accomplishments, I shout from the rooftops! Because everything is so much more difficult for her, what she does means so much more.
Now I know better. I know that typical development is a thing to be cherished and not taken for granted. And trust me---I don't.
On Being Brave and Being Thankful
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