Here's Jack about 2 years ago (January 2011). He was a little over 5 months old, still had the NG tube and was on 24-hour O2 support for his chronic lung disease, along with multiple meds. At this point, Jack had been home from the NICU about 6 weeks and we were so grateful to be at home with our sweet little boy after 4 months in the hospital. But, we were also in the awful, disheartening stage of living with medical equipment, doctors appointments, medications, breathing treatments, feeding pumps, and that outright fear that our little guy might not ever eat normally or breathe without support from a machine or tank. We worried if he would sit up, then crawl, then walk. Would he say "I love you, Mommy"? Would he get sick and end up back in the hospital? In those days, those never ending days, I struggled to see past all that to ever imagine the possibility of who Jack is today. And, if I'm being real, there were definitely moments when I missed a lot of who Jack was then, because I couldn't see past the prematurity, the lung disease, the fear, the uncertainty.
Today...he ate cheerios and milk for breakfast and noodles and hot dogs for lunch. He ran around, played with play-doh, and even threw a little fit about what to wear. He made the choice to skip his snack by telling me "no, no." He removed his clothes and diaper all on his own, while I was on an important conference call. Apparently, he had the urge to pee and did so on the floor :) He wore his first pair of big boy underwear. Yet, he was also okay with returning to a diaper for naptime. Or, in our house, it's "time in the crib where I say all the words I know...over...and over...." and eventually he fell asleep! He will most likely wake up to play some more and say "Mommy...Daddy's Home. Hi Daddy!" around 6. He'll have pizza for dinner, chatting all the while. More playing and snuggling before bed. No, I couldn't see "this" back "then," but I sure am blessed to be living it....today. (And everyday.)
I had been wondering if all the prematurity entails...does it ever end? Will I ever stop worrying about how prematurity affects Jack's life? Twenty nine months into this journey, I'm learning that while its likely that prematurity (and all that
it entails) will continue to be part of our lives, the focus is slowly shifting to our daily lives. The focus is...today.