My boy is getting big. It hit me the other day, when I took a picture of him sitting in Papa’s chair. He looked like a big boy. No longer a baby, with the chubby cheeks and the chubby little legs. He’s longer and leaner, and his face is not my baby boy’s face anymore. He has a big boy face!
Nothing really prepares you for that realization. This isn’t the first time I have had it, because he’s been my baby-turned-big-boy for awhile now. But man, it is hitting me lately. I will have a four year old in October.
What does this mean?
He is still here. This is the most obvious one. In some ways, the biggest. No guarantees exist for anyone, when it comes to the number of days we have on this earth. With everything he has been through, Kiran has shown his determination to live a long life, here with me.
We have come a long way. My boy, who I was so scared for, has made it so far. So far. In some ways, given the gravity of the diagnoses he has received along the way, further than I anticipated. In other ways, we are not as far on the path as I had thought or hoped. But no one can look at Kiran’s life and argue with the fact he has come a LONG way.
He is getting bigger. Physically bigger. Heavier. Harder to hold gracefully in my lap and harder to carry for any length of time. It means gone are the days of running into the store for a quick minute and leaving his wheelchair in the car. It means I have to start thinking ahead, on a lot of everyday logistics, because he is as light now as he will be ever again. He will keep growing, and mobility challenges will grow with him.
It means I simultaneously want to slow time down and rejoice in the fact he has made it to this point. He is 3 3/4 years old. There have been times I didn’t know if I would ever be able to say that – and I am thankful. More than words could say. Just thankful, to the very depths of me, that he is here.
But the grief comes, as it does for any parent of any child, when the child surpasses the baby and grows to the big. For me, this grief – this goodbye to the baby stage – comes knowing he will be my only, which wasn’t always my plan.
But then, so much of this life has nothing to do with what I had planned.