I’ve been blogging for almost 7 years. My kiddos were still essentially babies when I started, with the oldest being not quite 5 at the time. We’re getting close to the teenage years with him, and I’m starting to wonder what all three of them will think later, when (and if) I ever let them read all I’ve written. It does belong to them I suppose. It is my thought process, my memories of their lives, including the darkest parts.
Ry will be thirteen in September. As we drove home from an errand this morning, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” came on – thank you oh so very much Sirius Pulse – and I looked at him and wondered what he thinks of his birth story. So being the curious mom I am, I asked him. I wanted to know what he thinks when he hears me tell his story, when he sees me cry as I speak the words. His response? In typical pre-teen fashion, he said, “I don’t really think anything.” Duh. I asked him if he felt he put the two together…that the boy I am talking about is him, or does it feel like I’m talking about someone else? He said when he’s there, he knows it’s him. When I talk about him when he’s not there, it feels like someone else (I speak sometimes on behalf of the March of Dimes at different events). Then he smiled and said, “I’m not like Ethan…I don’t freak out when you talk about me.” Thank goodness for that, because we talk a lot about Ryley, especially at this time of year.
I have my version of his story, what I experienced and how I feel about it. But it is *his* story. Someday, he will tell it. And I wonder how he will tell it. Thank God he doesn’t remember any of it. Thankfully newborn, infant, and toddler brains don’t hang onto much. It would kill me to think he could recall any of the countless needle sticks, IV changes, tests, poking, prodding, ultrasounds, x-rays, blood transfusions, shots, eye exams, etc. But he will have access to all I’ve written, all I’ve said about his story. And I just wonder how he will feel, what he will think.
I’ve asked him to say a few things at our fundraiser a couple of times. He always declines. He will stand patiently by my side, holding my hand or my pinkie finger while I speak. He will gently put his hand on my back if I start crying. He will laugh quietly at my shaking knees. And afterwards, he will always give me a huge hug. But as of yet, he won’t talk. He can state the facts of his story, but he doesn’t yet own it as his. And I just wonder how it’s going to come out when he does.
In sixteen days, we will walk in our ninth March of Dimes March for Babies. We are not speaking this year, but the emotions always rise to the surface when I see all the faces, all the family teams t-shirts, hear all the stories of how these families were touched by the March of Dimes. And I’m sure I’ll write about it afterwards. But this year, I will probably watch Ryley and wonder how he’s processing it, what he thinks and feels, and he is owning his connection, his story.