When Grayson was a baby, he started therapy at 4 months of age. Several times a week, we had therapists in our home. We had four dogs at the time, and it was challenging to keep them contained and quiet, but for the most part, the therapy sessions were calm and I was able to focus on just G and his needs.
Then when he was almost two, he started attending the Caroline School, and there was a therapy group in the same building, so they would pull him out of class for his sessions. I wasn’t nearly as involved in what was going on in therapy, but it was an ideal situation since for the next three years, I was busy birthing two more babies.
Now, Grayson goes to public school and while he will receive some therapy services there, we are having to switch his main therapies back to the house. We certainly could take him to a therapy center, but no way am I loading up three kids during the witching hour 4-5 times a week to take him somewhere. So, right now, we are having therapists come to our house again. And actually, due to (a long story which I don’t even really understand) insurance/Medicaid issues, he is currently only getting speech therapy, twice a week. We are trying to add PT and OT, both twice a week too.
Now, even with just one therapy session a week, it’s mayhem.
First of all, it’s during the aforementioned witching hour. Everyone’s tired, grumpy and hungry. The house is a wreck. I’m low on patience, the younger kids are basically the worst versions of themselves, and Grayson is ready for bed. Thankfully, Ryan has been home for all his sessions so far (not in season right now) so we’ve been able to divide and conquer, with one of us refereeing the younger two while the other stays with G and the therapist.
And that’s just therapy. There’s also doctors appointments and like this week, hospital stays, which mercifully are not as frequent as they once were, but are still happening and will always happen. Finding childcare/coordinating preschool drop off and pickup on those days is so, so stressful.
I guess I mention all this just to say: having more than one kid is really tough anyway, but throw a unique situation like a medically involved child on top and it just creates a whole other set of stresses and challenges- logistically.
So I was thinking about all this today and the question popped in my mind:
“What if Grayson had been my third?”
I don’t know why I’d never considered this before, but wow, it blows my mind how different things would be. How much harder it would have been in the early days (which looking back were so incredibly hard anyway) had I been juggling two older kids at the same time. How in the world would I have handled the near constant weekly doctors appointments, tests, blood draws, therapies, and learning to use foreign-to-us medical equipment? Not to mention the emotional toll of those months and years. The shock, constant googling, waiting, grief, and acceptance of a diagnosis no parent should have to accept. What would I have done if I was trying to potty train a toddler and get a kid started in Kindergarten while trying to deal with all that with my baby at the same time?
I wonder about Charlotte. Had Grayson been her younger brother instead of her older brother, would she be more empathetic to how the disease controls his body, and also in many ways, our family? Would she still completely ignore his vomiting, asking me to get her a snack while her brother’s lips turn blue and his face bright red while he heaves in my arms? Would she understand that he couldn’t wrestle with her like Nolan can?
I’ve accepted and am grateful that Grayson’s life and even his disease is a gift in many ways, but just now I realize that his birth order was and is a huge gift and act of mercy. I’m thankful for those two early years where it was just him and that all my time and energy went into figuring him out and caring for him. He’s my firstborn not by chance, but by grace.
|Little Punkin’: Fall 2010|