So…yesterday was a tough one. No major crisis or calamity, just hard.
We went to a family gathering–a big one–lots of cousins and kids. We had a great time, but something happened during the day that was a kind of milestone — a milestone for me, that is.
There are four little ones Hope’s age, of which she is the oldest (I think), at 17 months — but all of the kids are within four months of each other (and mostly less). On the way up to the party Tammy asked me how I felt about seeing Hope around other kids her age. I knew what she was thinking, I knew that we were going to see the other children doing things Hope isn’t doing. I answered honestly, “I don’t know, ask me in a couple of hours.” The truth is that I really didn’t know, we don’t have any close friends or nearby relatives with children Hope’s age and the children her age that I am used to seeing her around also have developmental delays. I knew that this would be a “first” of sorts and I expected to have some reaction, but whether it would be jealousy, or anger, or sadness I really didn’t know.
I still don’t really know how to describe it. When the youngest of the four was set down next to Hope — the two girls looked at each other like babies do for a few seconds and then all of the sudden, the little one popped up and trotted off.
I was on the floor with Hope at the time and Tammy was beside me. For some reason or another Tammy had to go off down the hall for a few seconds, something Grace-related I’m sure. When she returned I was once again alone on the floor with Hope, who hadn’t moved at all and was silently gazing at the movement around her, I wonder what she was thinking? Tammy said, “Well, how about now?”
“That was really hard,” I said as my eyes started to well up.
She quickly got down on the ground and gave me a hug, “I love you,” she said. I pulled it together. We talked a little more about it later as we fed Hope birthday cake. Tammy tried to draw out my feelings on the matter, to get me to work through it I suppose. It wasn’t (isn’t) that I’m trying to not deal with it — just that I really don’t know how to describe it. Part of me I guess is surprised that I was so shocked to see a 14 month old trot, it’s not like I haven’t had some experience in that department.
But I guess that, whether by design or circumstance, I live in a bubble with Hope where I don’t regularly encounter situations like these and, even if I did, I’m not sure that I’d have been any better prepared or have any more articulate grasp on my feelings. Prepared or not, the bubble popped for a moment. I’m lucky to have a soft place to land, Tammy, my mom, family.
Hope is fine, she’ll walk — she’s pulling up now, cruising will soon ensue. Soon enough I’ll be chasing Hope around too, and the baby that I’ve been so lucky to have for so long will want her independence and not be so cuddly anymore. But still, yesterday….what can I say?