Light of mine

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“I GOT IT!”

Mom and I’s jaws both dropped. Did he really just say that? Our eyes glued to the transparent window while Holden had just fit a puzzle piece on the other side. It was his first sentence ever. In his speech therapy class on Monday.

His first sentence and it came at 26 months old. He has been slow to speak for some time. With speech therapy beginning last November, and having tubes put into his ears just last week as a last resort, it seems to be like we are finally turning the corner on his long road to verbal communication.

For some time now I had been thinking that his apprehension to talking came from being the only child- in a family of a lot of adults. Spoiled? Quite a bit. He so merely has to point to something, and one of the group is already running to get the object for our Little Prince. If I had a quarter for every time he muttered, “ga” and pointed to something, I’d be one luxurious lady. With no other kids around getting in the way, there has been zero competition for him to get what he wants from all of us adults. Additionally, most of us still speak to him in baby language. Thus, I concluded all this to be conducive evidence as to why he hadn’t begun speaking.

However, after meeting with the ENT pre-surgery, I do believe that the biggest contributor in Holden’s delayed speech has been the constant fluid and ear infections. So hopefully, we’re downhill from here. Could all of the overbearing spoiling have played a part too? Surely.

Though, Holden getting spoiled with attention brings up a big point in my parenting escapades. My family is overboard with love and affection. As am I, earlier I mentioned the urge to overcompensate to make him feel like nothing was missing. To make him feel valuable. But there’s a big difference in what I need to do for Holden vs. what everyone else does, because I’m the parent. I have to be the one to instill discipline, to teach right and wrong. Something that isn’t so easy to do these days when my baby is facing the corner for a timeout and screaming as if his world is ending.

{Discipline and love and affection. The two go hand-in-hand. I think I’m most like my dad, his dad, and his dad before that in trying to find a medium between the two. Poppie tells me the same story all the time about his own father, and what a great man he was. Any time he would discipline his children, whether verbally or a spank, he’d always make the kids kiss him afterwards- he was trying to get them to understand that his love for them was unconditional, and that they needed that love for him also. If I tried this strategy with Holden now, say after patting his bottom, he’d probably pat me right back on the face if I asked for a kiss! So maybe I’ll try that strategy later on.}

I’ve had to make sure Holden knows the difference between myself and everyone else. Mom has to mean business sometimes. But how much business is too much?

I try to be Supermom more than I’m capable of being sometimes. I’m so heavily focused on all the different parenting issues: discipline, love and affection, as well as any other parenting umbrellas. Cleanliness, order. I’m a head case about doing things the right way for Holden. Making the right decisions for him… from the smallest to the largest. For him to live in an environment he can thrive in: this is what I mean by the right way. But that’s just it- making sure that it’s the right way for Holden, not just the right way for me.

I can’t help but wonder, does all this get in the way of him just being a kid? He’s 2. And he needs to be 2. He needs to get dirty, he needs to play outside. He needs to do these things without me shadowing over him with a baby wipe, or without me being there every time he makes a mistake to feel a repercussion. He needs to roll down the hill in our backyard. I cringe from the porch hoping he’s not rolling right through dog poop.

It’s all about that balance, somewhat unattainable balance. Yes, I need to teach him right and wrong. Yes, I need to wipe his boogers off his face. Yes, I need to squeeze and kiss and love on him. But I need to accept that he is independent from me, his own little human finding his own steps.

I need to do just what the song says he loved so much back when I used to rock him to sleep and sing. Instead of overwhelming him with mom’s need to do right all the time. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

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Baby fever

There’s a new ultra-sound picture on my newsfeed almost daily.

Is everyone pregnant these days or is it just me?

It seems to be any time I sign onto my facebook account, one more friend is announcing their big news. That sweet little side-profile snapshot of baby about 14-20 weeks old is heart-warming. I so vividly remember seeing Holden’s face on that screen, falling in love at first sight.

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Holden at 12 weeks

Once finding out I was pregnant, though terrified, I was instilled with an unconditional want to be good for baby. I recount the feeling of being so ‘special.’ Walking a little more carefully, taking pride in what I ate knowing it was feeding baby. Well, gaining 40+ pounds… I didn’t want my baby to starve! Who counted anyway? Just like the decision to later divorce was, in my mind, primarily for Holden, so to was any decision I made while pregnant. All for Holden.

The endless memories of pregnancy fill my mind and heart as I see my friends all celebrating their own. I guess I’ve gotten to the age where some of these friends are now expecting their second and thirds! Many of whom their first is Holden’s age. That’s when it hits me. Holden is no longer a baby. Holden is a little boy, old enough to be a big brother.

As I sit and scroll through the sonogram pictures and typingCongratulations! (and meaning it, promise.), I think about how different life would be if Holden had a sibling on the way.

It’s not that this hasn’t crossed my mind millions of times before. It has. During my Dark Ages, this was a thought that coincided with any other depressing thought. When I originally got married, I wanted 3-4 kids. Boy, that’s changed. Holden isn’t going to grow up with a sibling– most of my beloved childhood memories included my own brothers and sister. I yearned for the confidence that he wasn’t going to grow up solely.

But nowadays, the repeated new baby announcement makes my wonderment so much more apparent. Apparent, but that baby fever of my own is not there. Not right now at least.

At the end of the day, my heart is filled with so much joy knowing my only son, my two-year old is sound asleep in his crib dreaming of yogurt-covered raisins and cheese puffs. I am so content right now knowing Holden is my one and only, but there’s obvious hope that he may not be forever. However, it exhausts me to imagine handling more than one as I look down at my legs full of fresh bruises daily. So for now, I’m good.

And my heart is filled with so much joy also knowing my friends will soon enough experience the unmatched love a child brings to a parent. I truly did not know what love was until Holden came into my life.

You is important

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Would you have filed for divorce if Holden wasn’t in the picture?

I was asked this recently. But I had been asked that a million times over before- always immediately replying no, justifying my rationale. I filed for divorce so that Holden wouldn’t grow up in an environment where he was learning THIS is what love and marriage look like. He deserved so much better. Had he not been in the picture, I probably would have tried to work on things, having one less person to make decisions for. One less, more important person at that. Holden is more important than myself. Holden being present made me make that decision a strong one- both for him and myself.

So many of these words scrolled across my mind as I found myself struggling to answer the question this time. Why was it a difficult question to answer all of a sudden?

Eventually, though, I answered. I’m not sure.

A couple days passed and I re-thought about it. The me-now would have still filed for divorce. Given the same situation. I would have done that thing I never thought I would have or hoped to have- divorced. (Insert earlier blog post comment here: I believe in marriage. I believe it is a sacred thing and is indissoluble. My faith understands that marriage ‘is an enduring and exclusive partnership for the giving and receiving of love and the procreation and education of children.’ I agree with that, and I would go even further in my own definition.) Even without a baby, Holden in the picture. The me-now thinks of myself as valuable enough to stand up for what I believe in. To make a better life for myself- with baby or babyless.

I don’t know what brought about this change of mind in me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting stronger as an individual every day, think more of myself now than I ever used to, becoming more liberalized in decision-making. Who knows… but, what I do know is that I would have never gotten to, or started reaching for, a level of self-respect that is sacred enough without having gone through all that I did. So I’m thankful.

Maybe it had something to do with the person asking the question this time, maybe not.