Bittersweet

Sometimes when your toddler does something that's totally grown up, it just makes you smile from the inside out. You know, things like kicking back in the recliner with a sippy cup in one hand and the remote in the other. Or moving the dining room chairs to play vacuum under the table. The little things that they do to mimic us. The things that we know they'll do for real one day when they've left toddlerhood behind them forever.

Those moments are bittersweet with Micah. While they warm my heart, they also make me a little sad. It's just another day in the life of a child with a mental disability.

While the other kids will grow up, leaving behind toddlerhood to take on adult roles, Micah may never do that. Micah may always be the one playing at adult games, and doing a stellar job of it. Just this morning he got flour on the floor while baking with me, and took the initiative to get the broom and dustpan and clean it up all by himself. If only the other kids would do that!

It's more complicated with Micah. He can do big things, and will learn to do more, but vague concepts elude him. It's a part of who he is. He grasps tangible, concrete things like dirt and dustpans, but not elusive things like Christmas is coming, or next year. And he may never grasp them. It's that reason among others that prevent so many adults with Down syndrome from living on their own.

When I see Micah play at big people things, I smile from the inside out. But I hear that small, quiet voice in my head reminding me that this is who he is. He'll always play at being an adult and never really grow into one. He'll always be my baby, in more ways than just the fact that he's the youngest in our family.

And yet, I love him for it. He's my son.

13 comments:

Leanne said...

Lovely but heart wrenching too. Just keep smiling and enjoying the moments - they are the best things in life.

Michelle said...

That's gorgeous, Karen. Absolutely gorgeous! He's such a sweet boy, but I feel for you with the bittersweet-ness of it. But hey, at least one of your kids cleans up after himself!

Brandie said...

It really is bittersweet. I love watching Goldie play mommy with her babies,but at first it made me want to cry. Then I felt selfish for thinking about what I wanted for her and not waiting to see what she wants out of life.

And I hope Micah is always eager to clean up after himself!

HalfAsstic.com said...

I'll say this for him... He's got a better grasp of what's expected of him so far than most of his counterparts! ;-)

Krista said...

I see adults that have DS at my workplace and even get to socialize a little with them. They are the sweetest of all our clients and so loving. I think they are God's special children that he reserves for special families. There's so much we can learn from children and even the children who happen to be trapped in adult bodies. He is a gift to you and you to him. You have been a wonderful mom and advocate for him. Keep up the good work and remember he's a special child of God.

JennyH said...

Good post.

Although he may never be completely independent I'm sure he will surprise you as his live goes on. Think of the great programs out there now helping these individuals with Ds. They live semi-on their own, they work, they have social outing, etc... Now think of what it will be like in 15 years! I can only hope it will be outstanding.

I was at one of our support group meeting once and listened to teens/young adult with Ds talk. They were so funny. One guy kept saying how he didn't want to live with his parents (and he didn't!) and somewhat to the effect that his mom was embarrassing- you know normal teenager stuff. I think he was early 20's. He lived in an apartment that is set up just for adults with special needs.

Although I like to think Max would never want to leave us, his parents, someday he may really WANT to move out. Only time will tell.

And I've said before.. Mas is my cleanest child. He would have swept the flour up too. The others, well, the flour would still be on the floor!

Andrea said...

This is such a beautiful post. The love that all mothers have for their sweet babies. I saw that picture of him you did a couple posts ago, and girl, he is growing up!! He looks so much older!!

mommaof4wife2r said...

i love love love love this post! and can i tell you how excited i am too with jada...although not downs, she struggles with elusive concepts, but i tell you this, that micah is more precious than silver and more awesome than any stinking gold!!!

Burgh Baby said...

Kids are constantly exceeding our expectations, and I suspect Micah will do exactly that.

Karen Deborah said...

and the love will see you through the journey.

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

What a beautiful post. I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with the uncertainty of the future. How wonderful it is that he has such an amazing family to guide him and care for him!

Roger said...

There are times that I wish that I could be like Micah in the sense that he is sweet and innocent, as opposed to my sarcastic snark. He is a much better person than I and I love this post, and others about Micah, because I see the beauty of God in the world through him and others with DS.

Tara said...

I truly loved this post. Our little guy is still a baby, so I know the bittersweet moments are on the horizon.

But, with five other children in the house, I am just dang excited that one of them might finally clean up after himself! :)