One of the hardest things so far about raising Christian has been the fact that he is beginning to desire independence from me, but independence doesn't come so easy with a child who is blind. Don't get me wrong, that's part of it. If we raise kids well, then they won't need us one day, right? As hard as that is, it's just part of it. And as mothers, our hearts break and rejoice all at once as our children gain independence and come into their own. But with Christian it's different.
He is at the normal stage in his development where he desires independence. He asks to do things himself with his sweet little words, "Want Christian to do it." He lets go of my hand as we walk, hoping to make his destination on his own. He asks to do things that his lack of vision just won't allow him to do without assistance. He struggles to dress himself, feed himself, figure out a toy or device with only his hands, figure out other people without the use of seeing their body language or facial expressions. It's all a challenge.
His vision impairment simply does not allow for as much independence as Christian wants at this point. It's as if his mind knows what he should and could do, but his body won't let him. And I have to watch him fight against it every day.
How i wish i could allow him independence when he asks to do things on his own. But not everything is safe enough for that. How I wish he could let go of my hand and not concern himself with the dangers of falling, or sharp edges on tables, or steps that he can't see coming. The things a 5 year old shouldn't be concerned with. There is time to worry when he's older. This age should be a time of wonder, exploration, and adventure unhindered by fear or struggles.
How I wish I could point up at the sky and show him a star so that his little mind could grasp it. Explaining a star to a 4 year old who can't see it is not easy to do in a way that his young mind can understand. How I want to give him the world, but his world stops at the tip of his fingers, and there is only so much I can do to compensate for that, although I try desperately. But it's just impossible to place a star into his little hands.
Every day is a reason to rejoice. Every day Christian does something that surprises and amazes me. Every day he does something that doctors once said he'd never do. Every day he accomplishes something that at one time my dreams of him ever doing had been crushed. There are so many things to be thankful for and so many more happy moments than sad. There is so much laughter and joy in this little boy.
But I won't ignore the sad moments. I will listen to what they have to teach me and I will love my little boy with every ounce of me. I will give him the world as far as I am capable and I will teach him to understand the hard moments, too. I will teach him to learn from them and grow into the most amazing person he can be. I will teach him that the measure of a man isn't how many times they fall down, but how many times they get back up. I will teach him to always get back up.
I wish we didn't have to deal with these struggles. I wish Christian could see, so badly. The holiday season is especially hard, because Christian can't see so many beautiful things that come around at Christmas. Christian always makes the holidays so special because he loves Christmas so much, and his joy is just so contagious. He doesn't care that he can't see, but boy how my mama heart cares.
I wish Christian's life was as simple and easy as possible. But since I can't control that, I will control what I can, and that's how I respond to the hardship. I will make the best of what we have and I will celebrate the simple things and love as deeply as possible. Because I wouldn't trade Christian's sweet Eskimo kisses for anything in the world. He is worth every heart ache that raising him brings.
There's a saying that sometimes it takes the rain clouds for us to really appreciate the sunshine, and how true that is. How sweet our sunshine is, because we have seen the rain.