Friday, May 29, 2009

Just as he is and will be

That's an $8 balloon. A giant Elmo head balloon. I have an unreasonable fear of balloons, but only the latex ones, so this one, although it made me slightly nervous, came home with us today after our visit to Sesame Street Live.

Little Bird and I sat on the front row for the show. I figured he would either love it, or it would scare the wonkers out of him. He loved it. The only part he didn't like was not being able to get up and dance. He made do kicking and dancing in my lap though, and we had a wonderful time. He even loved it when the characters came off the stage into the audience. The Count got a high five, and I thought Elmo might have to shake Bird loose from the bear hug he gave him.

There is nothing like watching your child enjoy himself and have a good time.

The family sitting next to us was doing the same thing. They had brought their son, and they were having a blast watching him enjoy himself. He was probably in his 20's, and he was in a wheelchair with multiple disabilities. When we sat down next to him, he greeted us with some verbalization and reached out for Bird. His father pulled him back and apologized. I told him it was just fine; that we appreciated the warm welcome.

When his mother came and sat down, she had practically cleared out the souvenir stand. She was grinning from ear to ear and showing her son all the things she had found, not the least of which was a spinny thing that lit up. Bird liked that too.

As much as Bird wanted to dance, the young man sitting next to us wanted to dance even more. He shook his wheelchair each time the music started. His parents had to hold it steady even with the brakes engaged. He was having a fabulous time.

I thought about all the activities and places to go that I try to find for Bird. The playgrounds, parks, children's museums, the pool, shows, whatever. I want to have these experiences with my child and watch him enjoy them. I know that there will soon be a time when he has outgrown these things.

But the family sitting next to us, they are stuck right there. Sesame Street Live has been and will continue to be awesome. There have been and will continue to be diapers to change. There has been and will continue to be a very limited amount of communication.

And I started to cry, but not because it was so incredibly sad, but because I thought that mother was so incredibly amazing. So what if it was the 10th year in a row she sat through Sesame Street Live? She loved every character who came to greet her son. She loved every clap and kick he gave to the music. There was pure joy in her face as she watched her son enjoy himself.

As different as our sons were, I felt like I understood this woman - this mother. If Bird did nothing but get bigger, if there were no more developmental changes, I wouldn't love him any less. I would take him to see Elmo year after year. I would change diapers for the rest of my life. I would still love being his mother.

The flip side is, of course, that barring unseen events, Bird will continue to develop. I have a few more years to enjoy Elmo with my son, and then he will be on to whatever comes after Elmo. He'll be off to little league, elementary school, and everything after. Maybe that makes it easy for me to say that I would still love being his mother, but I say it sincerely.

I sincerely believe that we love our children just as they are, just where they are, and just how they will end up. Mothers love their children. It is just what we were meant to do.