Accepting... By Kelsey Cunningham
Over the weekend I sat with my oldest son on our living room couch after he woke up from his afternoon nap. I stroked his hair and felt him sigh and lean into me. Finn needs time to transition. Time and quiet.
He asks for a story and I say yes, of course, and he brings me one out of the book basket.
He settles back into the crook of me and pulls up his legs.
I peer at my son out of the corner of my eye and see him smile as Travis the tiger chases the peacocks and hear him draw his breath when Prewitt is asked to leave his flock. He lays his head on my shoulder and I wrap my left arm around him so that I can brush back his hair, sweaty and hot from sleep off his forehead and I kiss the side of his head. He smiles and bats me away.
I often say that the world is a little too loud and moves too fast for Finn.
Although there are no adjectives to accurately describe my beautiful firstborn, I sometimes use flat, typed words to call him “intense”, “sensitive”, “an old soul”.
For the first two years of his life I worried that he was too different. Now I read those words and smile.
Of course he is.
I worried that he would never talk and then when he talked I worried when he repeated words, then phrases, over and over again; rolling the sounds around in his mouth.
I worried that he could not throw or catch a ball or that he did not want to ride in a Cozy Coupe or on a trike.
I worried that he would never stop crying when he was dropped off at daycare and worried that his tantrums were more intense than other children’s’.
But months later, after my second son was born, an easy boy with red hair who laid placidly on my
chest, I guess I stopped worrying.
I didn’t have time.
I let go of my fears and although life threw other curve balls at us,
We accepted. And learned.
Learned that there is no mold, no model, no box for our children.
I write these words now and I want to bang my head on the keyboard and laugh.
What seemed so trying at one time is now a nonissue.
And so that is how we live our life,
riding the ebb and flow that is parenthood. Acknowledging tough times while stoking the hope that resides in our heart, that life will, someday be easier,
without our children at home.
Accepting brought us peace. And with peace came gratitude. Gratitude that we learned our lesson before it was too late. Gratitude for small moments. Gratitude for our children, our different children.
Last night as I brought my youngest son down to say goodnight to my husband and Finn I remarked that I hoped bedtime would go smoothly, at least more smoothly than the past few nights.
Ha! Curt said. Sure, okay. You can hope that. Be glad he wants you now Kelsey.
Of course I’m glad.
A year from now I will remember Cal’s sleeping issues and smile, just as I did once before. Have done many time before.
A year from now I will brush back his hair and smile and put my lips to his temple and I will be
grateful that I had those moments, just as I am grateful now.