School + Bus + Driver = Screwdriver.
Makes perfect sense to me.
When they pulled up to the house on Tuesday, I saw Erik's blond head pop up behind the steering wheel. Jeff taught him how to press the button that would open the door for me. Of course, there was a great deal of horn honking as well.
Erik is doing great. This is going to be a magical year for him, if what I have read in the WS literature rings true. He sang all of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" several times at dinner at various tempos last night while Brian and I stared at him wide-eyed, and he showed me where Stinky Dog's tail was this morning ("Here's tail!"). He works out with me more and more each morning like a tiny personal trainer, telling me to "Lift leg!" and "Reach!" His heart is on his sleeve these days about the people he sees or misses. If he sees vehicles that resemble the ones friends or family members drive, he begins talking about them, craning his neck from his car seat to see if they are inside when he used to sit and drool, unaware of the world outside the car. He knows the difference between a Subaru and a Ford. He is becoming more emotional, and there are now more obvious reasons behind his actions instead of just mysterious, hysterical reactions for us to decipher. He tried unsuccessfully to fight off tears when I left him at class this morning. He tells me he is glad to see me and that he missed me.
I dropped off the collection of baby things I mentioned earlier that has been sitting in the back of my Jeep. I said a quick prayer about this, as I wasn't sure how it would feel. As I carried the baby bathtub and several diaper boxes full of clothing to the back of the Goodwill truck, a passerby spotted my donations and asked, "How old is the baby now?" Surprised, I set my things down at the back of the truck and announced that he was 3. I smiled as I turned away. I felt nothing but proud. I remember how slowly the months ticked by during Erik's infancy, and time goes too fast now. No more counting months, weeks, days, minutes, or agonizing seconds, wishing for time to pass, waiting for things to get easier. I'm letting the past go. I need my strength for what lies ahead. The road ahead is going to be the most difficult one I have walked, but I'm ready for it. There are many mothers who have walked this exact path before.
I'm feeling fabulous these days not having to lug around an extra 35 pounds, and the dense brick of grief lodged in my skull that I described in my first posts feels even lighter. Sure, it's still incredibly heavy, but I'm accustomed to it now. It feels more like a natural extension of me, like one of my limbs, and less like a tumor or a foreign body inside of me like it used to. Even simple creatures like oysters learn how to make pearls out of the grains of sand that cruelly chafe at their delicate insides. There will likely always be grief, but I'm not drowning in it anymore. It's part of me, and it's important.
I believe I have come a long way since Erik was born in just about every way. I am still amazed that it's possible to feel this good again. In short, I'm myself again. I haven't really been me since I started this blog. I ran into Bev's (Erik's former therapist) friend at hippotherapy last week, and she told me how incredibly proud Bev was of me. My heart swelled when I heard that, because it has been a real struggle, but I'm making it, and people can see it now. I thought that this would be all about Erik, but I have gotten to know myself a lot better than I ever wanted to or imagined was possible. And now it's official...
I'm back, baby.
So standing at this fork in the road, I am unsure what to do next. I am now thinking about pouring this energy into some sort of book. However, there is so much story left to tell, so I'm torn.
In any event, I'm me again. I will never be the same, but it's clear that I'm not supposed to be.
What's important is that I'm me.