All I Want For Christmas

Despite my usual annoyingly cheerful disposition, I’m feeling a little Scrooge-like this year.

Bah Humbug.

See, this year, Ian will be eight. Every year that passes is another slap in the face, another year that he gets further and further from his milestones. Another year he grows slightly taller and people will no longer mistake him for a toddler. He’s small for his age but now that he looks five-ish or possibly six-ish, we won’t get away with it much longer. You know, IT. Looking younger than he is so we won’t get THOSE stares when he doesn’t answer the nice gentleman in line at the grocery. Or the nice cashier at Target. Or the kid at the playground that asks him to play.

And now he’s almost eight. Further and further away from the other kids. It just makes me want to cry.

When my family asks me what I want every year? My answer is always the same. I just want to hear my baby’s voice. I just want him to smile at me, look me in the eyes and say, “Mom.” Every once in a while we get a word. It’s magical. And then we don’t hear it again. But this year? I want to hear more words. I want to have a conversation with him. I mean, I have conversations with him but they are horribly one-sided. I talk to him all day long. I just keep waiting for him to have something to say. Not-so-patiently. Not that patience has ever been my strong point. You know that adage, be careful what you wish for? I always wished I was more patient. And BOY HOWDY, you certainly learn patience with children with special needs.

He goes to a pretty darn awesome school and has pretty darn awesome therapists and teachers. He is happy. He is loved. He plays. He laughs. He hugs me. He falls asleep in funny positions in his footy pajamas and his Daddy and I giggle at how cute it is. But we long for our son to talk to us. We long for him to be able to communicate with us by more than biting his hand and stamping his feet. We want him to do more than beat the holy heck out of his arms and come home with bruises and broken skin from his own little teeth. We want him to be less frustrated. We know it will come. We know it takes time. And as optimistic and hopeful as I usually am, today I just don’t have it in me.

I want it now. Golly Ned, I sound like Veruca Salt! Patience! You’re learning patience, remember?

How funny is it that I long for him to slam the door to his bedroom and be angry with me? Or get into a fight with his brother? Or get into one of those, “MOOOOOM. HE’S BREATHING NEAR ME” kind of fights. I’d do anything to have them get into a wrestling match on the floor over who has the right to use the red car at that particular moment. Or have them fight over who cracks the next egg into the bowl while we make cookies. I’m really, REALLY hoping that in a few days I’ll say, “Holy stinking crud. I hoped for this?” when he is chatting my ear off every day after school like his broken-record brother.

There is a glimmer of hope. A few weeks ago his Daddy asked him who lived in a pineapple under the sea and he answered, “BOB” and went on his merry way. And even though I’ll probably never, ever hear that word again (two years ago on his birthday he said, “Choo Choo!” and we never heard it again) it makes me hopeful. Hopeful that some day I’ll get to hear his voice.

That’s the day that these tears, the ones streaming down my face right now, will be happy tears.

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