To most folks, this pic probably seems pretty straightforward: you see a super-cute kiddo playing in the dirt. But when I look at this photo, I see so much more. In fact, I see a miracle. Can you spot it?
I see ten tiny toes happy to be out and about, no matter what surface is beneath them. I see ten little fingers about to make a glorious mess with a toy train and a pot full of dirt. I see our super-duper-special boy content enough to just play – and it chokes me up.
This could never have happened last spring. I remember sitting in the front yard with one of Truman’s therapists as we tried to coax him onto the grass, urging him to let just one little toe touch the soft, green grass. But Tru was riddled with fear, on sensory overload. It was as if we were asking him to walk across fire. He couldn’t handle touching most textures. And any mess – whether a speck of dirt or a smudge of butter – on his skin or clothes threw him for a total loop.
The difference now is like night and day. Tru can make a mess with the best of them; sometimes I see him tense up, but he looks to us for reinforcement – laughter, smiles, nods usually do the trick. I wish I could have whispered in my ear a year ago that this part would get better; that change would come, slow and steady.
Our journey with Tru is teaching me to trust in new ways, to accept where he and we are in the moment. I catch myself sometimes, feeling scared and worried. Asking myself questions about his tomorrows that are impossible to answer today. My heart knows worrying gets me nowhere, but my head can be a stubborn stick-in-the-mud. I find comfort in reviewing the gratitude list that’s practically engraved on my soul: for his amazing team of advocates and therapists and caregivers, for people in his life who adore him no matter what, for his bright-as-sunshine spirit, for his physical health, for weighted blankets and Nuks and Thomas the Tank Engine, for my flexible schedule, for chocolate milk, for everything that contributes to his well-being and, in turn, to our family’s.
Remembering all of that goodness shifts my frame of mind. But nothing does it better than noticing and celebrating these milestones that feel like little miracles. They remind me this messy life is perfectly beautiful.