Last night I was grumpy-tired. Noah was tugging on one hand for me to sit and watch him play. Judah, pulling (or should I say “yanking”?) my other hand, wanted me to read to him. Irritation grew like an inflating balloon in my chest. I hollered to my sweet hubby, who had been home less than thirty minutes and was enjoying his quiet time in the “facilities”.
“I’ll be right there”, he dutifully called from the master commode.
That balloon in my chest is going to pop. Guilt scolded me for the thought.
A few more minutes with Judah, since he is less patient. Finally, my groom of twelve years emerged from the water closet ready for his orders. “Do you want to read to Judah or watch Noah”, I demanded curtly, feeling conviction for my irritation.
“I’ll read to Judah.” He picked up Judah’s book and lovingly guided him to his room to read about Jonah, Judah’s favorite story.
I breathed a tired sigh as I walked into Noah’s room and knelt down next to him. He was making a movie on his iPad. He worked hard, editing, splicing, cutting, deleting. I made sure he knew I was very interested.
“Noah, may I kiss your nose?” He leaned over to allow a gentle kiss be planted on his nose. “Noah, I love what you’re doing (I was clueless), and I’m so proud of you. I’m glad you asked me to stay. I love being with you.” My balloon of irritation had deflated and all my attention was focused on my little man.
Unexpectedly, Noah leaned into me and wrapped his arm around my neck. Don’t breathe. He’s never done this before. He hung on, continuing to work on his project with the other hand. OK, I had to breathe…I took my glasses off so they wouldn’t become a temptation for him to tear off my face. As his arm was firmly, but so gently and sweetly cradling my neck, he pulled my head to his shoulder and stroked my hair and cheek.
I fought the tears. I didn’t care how much my knees were hurting, I was not going to move from him! “Lord, thank You. Thank You so much…thank You…”.
I used to measure milestones by the doctor’s checklists of questions. Then there was a point when I couldn’t check anything on those lists anymore. In fact, I had to “uncheck” many boxes from each boy’s list. So, I began making my own milestone checklists. For a number of years now, both Noah and Judah have had their personal lists. Instead of counting the number of words they can functionally say, I “listen” and hear their body language. Instead of performing tasks and following one step directions, I watch their actions and behaviors towards others.
Don’t get me wrong. Verbalizing and having the ability to express thoughts is huge and important. Being able to listen and follow directions is also carries weight. I’m not in any way minimizing those milestones. However, I’m also celebrating and doing the “Snoopy dance” today as I float on a cloud thinking about last night, the first time Noah ever hugged me, son to Mom, just to say in his sweet little way, “Mom, I love you, too.”