A long time ago, someone told me to keep a journal of all the great sayings and cute words my son spewed out over the years. Life flies by so fast that sometimes we forget to stop and enjoy the moment. Unfortunately, I am guilty of this more than I would like to admit. But, as someone who was taught to own your mistakes, I continually try to work on my faults. Because of my upbringing, I have no problem admitting them.
Even as I write this, I have yet to enter all the “Anthony sayings” into his journal of life. But, in some ways, I guess this serves as a virtual baby book for when he gets older.
My son says things to me on a daily basis that send my head in a spin. “Where did you get that!?!” is my usual response. His common go-to response is “Grandpa.” Poor Grandpa. Although he gets credit for every cute saying that comes out of Anthony’s mouth, he also gets blame for all the bad ones.
And, although I know Anthony is full of it most of the time, I know the “Grandpa sayings” that leave Grandpa in the doghouse. (Sorry Gramp! We still love you!) But, even with the bad sayings he picks up, I couldn’t be happier that my son is surrounded by people who teach him things.
The last week has been particularly tough on us. Anthony has faced some major setbacks in his treatment that I’m just not ready to talk about. Although I have promised to be an open book, I don’t like to divulge information until I know all the details. And, for that reason, I protect our little man.
But, even through the testing, which has been prompted by setbacks, Anthony’s milestones have been brought to light. And, even though I’m proud of him no matter what! I am particularly proud to see the obstacles he has overcome in the past year. He has gone from an asymmetrical gait to a symmetrical one! To the average Joe, that is nothing. But, to us! We are ecstatic!!
And, although I take such great pride in the postivie aspect of Anthony’s journey. And, I make every effort to focus on the positive. The truth is that I cry a lot in solidarity. While once in a blue moon these tears are ones of pain and suffering, most times I cry tears of joy. Tears of appreciation. Tears of pride.
As a family, we have been through hell and back in the past couple of years. But, it’s not the hell that brings me to tears. It’s the fierce support, that has driven us through the hell, that makes me want to cry.
It’s the friends who have become family. It’s the strangers who have given us support. It’s the amazing team that has surrounded our son. Without a wink of hesitation. It’s these people that know nothing about you, until they know it all. It’s these people who were willing to lift you up when they knew nothing, and who love you now that they know it all. It’s being blessed with these types of people that makes me look up to the sky, with tears in my eyes, and say “Thank you God for my blessings!”
I guess this next statement can be an unfortunate one. Although my son has a lot of blood relatives, they aren’t people we have chosen to be a part of his life. He has undergone a tragic and complicated battle, and we, as a family, have chosen to surround him with positive people. But, in the wonder and worry of our decisions, God has given us affirmation that we have made the right decision.
And, this is where my tears come from. My son has the most supportive and dedicated family, who he will always know he can count on. And, although there are few blood relatives, the majority of them are family we have chosen for him. He is surrounded by family that wants to be a part of his life. And, while we have chosen some, and some have chosen us, the greatest gift is that Anthony has chosen the majority of his family. They are people that he loves deeply and that he knows love him deeply.
Last week, we were talking about his love of peekabutter and his dislike of skeety bites. Peekabutter is best paired with grape jelly, but, at Nana’s house, he has come to love it with bread and bananas. Making memories of late nights in PJs, as the sun goes down, on the beach, Anthony was suffering from many Skeety Bites that took up a lot of his attention.
On Friday, my son went off with his Mimi and Grandpa Pete. I knew he was in for a weekend of wonderful memories. And, while I’m happy that I was kept in the loop through pictures, I am grateful that Anthony shares these special experiences solely with the people he has come to know as his family.
Tonight, as we sat down to dinner, Anthony said “hey Mom what are we having??” I responded, “BLTs and PB&J.” He looked at his sandwich and said, “Oh Wow! I love Peanut Butter and Jelly.”
Peanut Butter. Wow! I look at my little boy, who suddenly seemed so old to me. And, I said to myself…while he was off making memories with an important part of his family, my little boy grew by leaps and bounds.
I put him to bed and took out his baby book. “Peakabutter and Skeety Bites” made their way into the notes, and I made a note that was dated:
8/27/2017-I’m so proud of you Anthony Michael. Although I missed you immensely this weekend, I can’t put into the words the joy I have for you when I think of the great time you had! Mimi and Grandpa Pete told me you slept in your own bed, you stood up to a bully, and you overcome some “meltdown” moments. I am so happy that you had a great time! And, I’m even happier that you had that great time without me. Your Mimi and Grandpa Pete are a deserving part of your “growing you up” team. They will teach you things that Mom and Dad can’t teach you. And, this weekend, you learned something. Because “Peekabutter” is now “Peanut Butter.” But, most of all, you taught us something through what you learned. Adapt to your surroundings. Enjoy those who enjoy you. Stand up for your friends. And, never, ever, let your need of your safe zone keep you from going on a late night adventure in the dark.
This weekend you faced some challenges that you weren’t used to, but you knew you were surrounded by people who would teach you the way. You stepped out of your comfort zone, but you were smart enough to find comfort in those you know love you as much as we do. For this, we are proud. But, more than anything, we are happy that you allowed yourself to have the type of adventure and fun that you deserve to enjoy as a little boy!
I love you, little man. And, I will never forget these moments that have caused you to grow through the love of those around you.
Although peekabutter and skeety bites will be forever burned in my brain, I’m glad you have taken a few steps forward in life, while I wasn’t looking. I couldn’t be more thankful for the team we have been blessed with to teach you all about mosquito bites and peanut butter. I love you Anthony Michael!