Sunday, July 14, 2013
Seventeen years ago today this holy boy came into the world. He came into my life exactly nine months prior to that, as his presence was known to me instantly, and of course, he was born not around his due date, but on it. He has kept himself and everyone around him to a rigid schedule ever since.
This past year he has come into his own.
He is a long, long way from being able to live independently, but he is ever closer to being able to think independently. He knows his own mind; what he likes, what he doesn't like, what he wants, what he doesn't want, what behaviors he will accept from others and what behaviors he will not, what he will spend his free time doing and what he will not.
A couple of mornings ago I was flying around the kitchen trying to get his breakfast in front of him, cleaning up the kitchen, wiping up all the water Flicka dribbled from her bowl to her bed in some mad tail-chasing order that repeats itself each and every morning with frustrating regularity as I tried to get out the door to meet Kathleen for a 7:00 AM walk. Wil prattles, the microwave beeps, Flicka dribbles the just-wiped area, the toaster pops, I inhale one bite of my own breakfast, repeat. And the prattling isn't something you can just nod and tune out, he gets you on the hook, he's arranging things, putting his requests in, planning his life.
"We will go to Trader Joe's at 8:02 and I will get gluten-free Jojo's for dad. We will get blueberries and strawberries and watermelon and pineapple because we really need to have flavor-changing in action for our water. The water in our fridge is really old and we really need to have flavor-changing in action. We will have blueberry water on Wednesday, pineapple on Thursday, watermelon on Friday and on Saturday we will have strawberry. The water in the fridge is really old and we really need flavor-changing in action just like the frozen yogurt that gets flavor changed, we will need to do that every day so we will go to Trader Joe's at 8:02 and get all the flavor-changing things."
I buzz around the kitchen even more maniacally with each order he barks, check my watch to make sure I'm not late, grab the poop bags, a Kleenex, my shoes, the leash and set it all out by the door.
"Care," he says, "I am only sixteen for a few more days. It's really important that you remember that. Don't forget that I am only sixteen for a few more days. Time is going by. I am getting older. Just remember that I am only sixteen for a few more days."
When each day feels like the last in so many ways, times 365/year times seventeen years, it's hard to step back and see the growth, see the changes, see the distance you've travelled and see the future as one whose flavor will continue to be in action.