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A Mother’s Day Reflection

Karen Peikert

I lead worship music in my church, so as always, my family was in the front row yesterday so I could join them when I got done singing. I remember the years when Kyle, my 8 year old apraxic sweetheart, had such a hard time understanding why I was ‘up front’ and he was not. One time I even had to sing with him in my arms…now he just sits in church like everyone else – compliantly laughing at the pastor’s jokes, walking in and out alone if he needs to get a drink, attending Sunday School, etc. Every bit like everyone else’s 8 year old – with the exception of playing with a few toys than many other kids his age would have outgrown, all carried in a Thomas the Tank Engine backpack which has held his “church toys” for several years.

After my husband prepared a lovely brunch, which Kyle would not eat until he could change out of his polo shirt (just like his older brothers), we played/worked outside. Kyle has a special friend who lives next door – a neurologist in his 50’s who was of great help to us when Kyle first started having seizures. Kyle helped him with yard work all weekend – and got paid $3 much to my chagrin. This dear man marvels at Kyle’s progress, and loves to have popsicles and visit with this boy who could only speak single words at age 5.

Yesterday, we decided to let Kyle walk our dog by himself for the first time Because he does not really have the manual dexterity to master the “pick up the doggie business in the plastic bag”, we were really hoping she had already taken care of that. After orders to only go to the corner and back, we finally had to go out searching for him. My husband found him – he had gone “the long way” around our block and had met up with a new family with two little boys who were riding their bikes with training wheels. Apparently he had been talking to them all the time, and was safe and happy as can be.

More and more, I find that Kyle is just becoming a “typical” little boy. I can ask him to clear his dishes, and he will. He actually ASKS to read books now, which he never did when he was younger – and if they are easy enough, he will volunteer to read them to me. On his soccer team, while he is nowhere close to even being typical, he actually kicks the ball and is getting so much better at actually executing the motor plan necessary to play that fast-moving game. He takes off on his bike, going up and down our very quiet street and up and down the curbs like a real daredevil. In the last month, his fingers actually got strong enough to open the clasp on his bike helmet, so he no longer needs my help for that. When he saw my mom yesterday, who is just now regrowing hair after undergoing chemotherapy, he launched into their ongoing joke over whether she should wear her wig to get her hair back”.

Oh, such a normal weekend, but all the sweeter since I never knew if I would actually hear the words ” I love you” from this precious one. He says it all the time, plus things like “Relax mom, take a deep breath”, “It’s no problem , “I don’t have to” and “I didn’t do it, Luke did!” The things others take for granted, we never will. As I watch Kyle change and progress, I feel like every day is Mother’s Day. Not that there aren’t still moments of grief and fear, but they have become so much more manageable now that they are mixed with triumph and joy….and so much that just seems normal.

The Mother’s Day card that my husband helped Kyle make for me said ” It is God and you that have gotten me where I am today. Dad says he’s going to spend his life trying to explain all the things you’ve done for me. Thanks, mommy!”

Is there a better gift?