I bet you have all heard the song ‘you can’t always get what you want, but if we try sometimes, we find we get what we need’… (I don’t know the title, just that line – in fact in my old age I can’t even remember who wrote the song.) It’s been running about my head this morning because as I walked to school today Josh had a conversation with the Mom of a friend of his. It was an actual conversation! She noticed that he’d had a hair cut and commented to him that she liked it. He rubbed his newly shorn locks and smiled and proceeded to tell her that his Daddy had cut it, and that it was short just like his Daddy’s and now he looks like his Daddy. He was pretty proud of this and was smiling all big and cute, then he told her that he had cool new sunglasses that his brother got him (his Grandparents actually got them but Kaper was the actual giver and it was Kaper who picked them out so I didn’t correct him). Then, when he was finished saying his piece he ran off to get into line at school. The Mom turned to me and resumed talking to me… she didn’t have a clue what she had just witnessed. Not only did Josh just have a conversation with someone, but he had it with an adult, and he was totally understood. It wasn’t perfectly grammatically correct but it was clear, and confident. What a change since the fall!
Sometimes I get so bogged down in the daily grind that I forget to look at where he has been, sometimes it’s so hard to see the improvements and not look at how far he still has to go. Sometimes I listen to Josh and all I hear are all the mistakes, all the errors and I think he will never get there…. then on days like today he surprises me and I see him for who he is, how far he’s come and I am left standing in the school ground affected to the point of tears because Josh, my amazing son, has fought hard to be where he is today, and he’s making ground!
I remember once when I was pregnant with Josh and in the hospital during one of the many stays where they threatened to take him early. It was a late afternoon and Josh hadn’t been moving for some time, the doctors were seriously worried and they were doing an ultra sound. They had the untra sound set up so that we could see his entire body, curled into the fetal position, he wasn’t moving at all. The doctor was poking me hard enough that I could see in the ultra sound the probe pushing into Josh. The room was silent as we waited for Josh to move. Both Tim and I were staring at the screen, willing him to move, willing him to fight. If they took him then we knew that he wouldn’t live. The doctor was just about to give up and had wiped the gel off the probe when he looked at our panic stricken faces and for whatever reason decided to give it one more go. He pushed the probe hard into my belly, we could see it jab Josh in the shoulder… and then just when we were all on the verge of giving up Josh’s arm shot out, fisted, and pushed back. Tim, the doctor and stared and both Tim and I fought back tears of joy. Tim proudly announced ‘That’s my boy!” and the doctor kept the probe on my belly so we could watch our little fighter begin the slow fluid dance of a baby in the womb. I had many ultra sounds with Josh, more than I could even begin to count. They were weekly, sometimes by-weekly. However, that one, with his rocky fist punching at the probe is the one that will forever remain etched in my mind. It has come to be the image that remains when I think of Josh. How many times has he waited until all hope was lost before he stood up and fought back?
I thought of this story when I walked home today after dropping Josh at school. His language is just one more thing he’s having to work and fight for, but he’s fighting, he’s working and for the first time I am beginning to see that he’s actually winning!
What I want, is a fast fix, I want Josh to magically wake up one day speaking if full sentences and yammering on until I beg him to be quiet; maybe what Josh needs is the time to learn it himself, at his pace, in his time. It could just be that he’s being given a wonderful opportunity to build character, to learn patience, to get stronger, to learn how to fight for what he wants. It could be that God has a plan for Josh that requires these skills. So, while I don’t always get what I want, when I try, I might find that he gets what he needs.