What a Difference a Year Makes

When we left the hospital with Jack almost a year ago (WOW! Has it only been a year? Feels like a lifetime ago!), we were relieved, but anxious. His heart was fixed and he was healthy enough to go home, but he was still such a big question mark. Would his one working kidney hold up? Would he ever eat by mouth? Would he push beyond the obstacles of his smaller hand and missing pec muscle to sit and walk and crawl? With so many different areas of his body being affected, did we need to worry about a mental deficit, as well? 

So many questions, and, for awhile, they haunted us. When progress didn’t come quickly, or faltered, we stressed and worried, laying in the dark at night, hands clasped under the sheets, whispering our terrifying fears. We just wanted him to be healthy and pain-free, and it wasn’t happening.

He didn’t even seem very happy; he was fussy regardless of who held him, and he had no interest in toys or books. There were days I would turn to my husband, tears in my eyes, and say, “Why is he always crying? Is he hurting? Why is he never happy?”

Well, he is now.

Coming up on the one year anniversary of our jail-break, Jack can’t stop smiling. Seriously. The kid is so happy… and LOVING! I had no idea it felt like being crowned Queen of the Universe when your 14-month-old leaned in for a kiss! My 4-year-old was a very standoff-ish baby, and didn’t really give kisses until 2. Jack is the complete opposite, he loves kisses! Afterwards, he pulls back and grins at you, like, “That was fabulous.”

In the last four months he has blossomed from a cranky, uninterested-in-the-world baby to an observant, sweet and happy kid that gives me instant joy just seeing his face. 

In the last four months he:

Learned to sit. 

Learned to crawl. 

Learned to bear weight on his legs. 

Grew five teeth. 

Started eating solids by mouth. 

Started taking a few sips of water by mouth. 

Learned to say mama specifically when he wanted me. 

Started smiling at everyone and everything. 

Plays with the millions of toys we are delighted to buy for him now that he shows an interest.

Laughs with abandon. 

Plays smart games, knowing where I hid the ball under a blanket. 

Became even more enamored with his sister. 

Discovered that crawling lets him chase after the dog, his FAVORITE pastime. 

Stole my freaking heart. 

I’m so proud of this kid. I am SO. DANG. PROUD. OF. THIS. KID. He’s gone through so much, and then he had to go through a period of adjustment and watch his father and I freak while he figured life out. I’m slowly learning that Jack is awesome, and he will do all the awesome things that kids do like play sports, fall in love, make dumb decisions and learn from them. Eventually he will do all the awesome things that grown-ups do, like go out into the world, learn new things, meet new people, and have a life. 

As long as I have his little grin in my life until the day I die, I will be a very happy woman. 

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