My son turned four today and though I would’ve liked to have said I felt “nothing”, sometimes things happen that break the dams one tries to place around their emotions.
For those that don’t know, my son has some developmental issues which may have stemmed from the circumstances around his very premature birth. He can read and repeat heard/read words however, he cannot “converse” with you beyond rudimentary words. (Particularly “I want” if he wants to pull you to the food/drink that he wants.) He also is suspected to be on the high end of the autistic spectrum though with his linguistic handicaps, they can’t even test him.
So, I have a child who can only converse through whines, crying and other sounds which after prolonged exposure, stress me out and makes my blood pressure spike. It’s like a I have a big and highly mobile 1 year old. I see videos of parents having conversations with their young kids, I see my siblings and all of their “normal” children and as much as I hate to admit it, I feel envious and even mad. Especially when they drop platitudes on my situation in life that really do nothing for me except twist the knife in my heart.
Then there are the good times that we can have. Kid can repeat stories and songs. If you need someone to sing Bruno Mars or Weird Al to you, he is your go to. Sometimes we can make little games out of something simple as tossing a pillow back and forth, sometimes he’ll let me help him color. Then there are times that he gets frustrated and I can’t seem to get him to calm down.
So, on his birthday, the memories of late night vigils in the NICU while his mom was recovering are clear and I can think of the tiny guy in the little “chamber” they had him in, it makes me sad when I feel that it’s been 4 years without a break for him. Then tonight, even though he cannot say the words “I love you, daddy”, little guy comes over and snuggles with me on the couch after a long day of therapies and play. It gives me some hope, on days that I really need it most.
TLDR: I love my son a lot, it just hurts way more than I expected parenthood to because there’s nothing that I can do to make his issues go away. I would rather feel nothing than live with that feeling.
(Might not be my most coherent writing, it’s all really raw at the moment.)