Monday, June 22, 2015

the importance of a year

This year marked the boys first birthday where I wasn't sad, scared and feeling that terror in my stomach. That feeling like they are drowning, reaching out for me and I stand there watching them claw for the surface, yet I am unable to help.

The first year I wasn't weighed down by developmental checklists and charts.

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This thing used to haunt me. One day I finally threw the sucker away and never looked back. It's called HELP- Hawaii Early Learning Profile and it's a checklist containing 685 specific skills and behaviors in relation to all areas of development. I've spent countless hours of my life reviewing this with teachers, psychologists and State case workers. Plus numerous other reports based on developmental assessments.

I've spent so much time feeling scared because the communication gap was growing bigger and wider and into unknown dimensions we can't even measure yet. And there were so many skills they needed to be doing that they just weren't.

The state always scheduled reviews and evaluations right before each boy's birthday. We painfully would discuss each report and assess where the boys were in developmental age. It sucks the wind out of you to hear your almost three year old is communicating at a 10 month old level. It starts a cascade of awful feelings which made birthdays feel like funerals I simply had to get through. I felt that typical- Why do they have to grow so fast? Mom emotions. But on top of that panic and fear- Please God- Don't let them grow so fast without learning what they are supposed to be learning. I am so scared at how far behind they are. I am so scared about everything. And then the guilt- the guilt for feeling the pain. The inner voice that said You are AWFUL. If you were a good mom you would only feel joy on this day that we celebrate their birth.

I ached. For them and for me. To hear about all the things they weren't able to do was awful- but also it brought the fear of the unknown and the not knowing if we would ever be able to teach them what they needed to know. I would leave those meetings exhausted, wanting to sleep a thousand years and wake up in a place where life felt alright.

And this year for their birthdays- without warning or preparation, I suddenly just realized I wasn't sad. There were no checklists or assessments in sight. I was joyous and grateful and filled with the perspective I have tried unsuccessfully to talk myself into over the years.

A year forward is a gift. A one of a kind, incredible, irreplaceable gift. I looked through my last twelve months of pictures and I can see that now, at least for today. A year is so many good things that have absolutely nothing to do with charts and spreadsheets.

A year is approximately 1,342 leg hugs.

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A year is holidays and celebrations together.

It's 365 sunsets.

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And trying exciting, crazy new things.

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A year contains so much laughter that hopefully you can't even count that high. But I'm guessing somewhere around the lines of 40 billion infinity times infinity squared.

A year can contain the first time they ever held hands.

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And four million, twenty thousand happy, flappy jumps.

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A year contains about 48 Speech Therapy sessions where I sit on the floor so I can get the best view possible. Where I cheer and yell out loud answers by mistake because I get so excited. BLUE!!! SAY BLUE!!!

A year is 100 wishes, made by me and them.

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A year is a thousand trips to Target.

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A year is Greyson learning to write his name.
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And Parker kinda, sorta, mostly being potty trained.

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A year is a trillion kisses

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And 84 ice cream cones

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A year is a blessing. A year of outgrowing old habits and shoes and hair cuts. A year watching them sleep and breathe, chest rising up and down. A year is a gift of magic, unique to each and every one of us. A custom portrait made with all the colors of the world.

It's not about the checklists, charts and evaluations. It's about the moments. The incredible moments we have together on this earth. The hard moments, the beautiful ones, the moments we ache and the moments we can't believe how lucky we are.

That's what a year means to me.


  1. This post is so very lovely... Every facet of your life is beautiful Chrissy. You are an exceptional individual, and I so appreciate all that I have learned from watching you love your gorgeous boys. You pack a lot of love into a year. Thank you for sharing your outlook and your life with us!

  2. Oh Chrissy! This made my heart happy. I love your perspectacles (thank you Glennon). Celebrating all of the wonderful moments and memories is indeed what makes a blessed year. I am so happy you put away the charts and checklists for now. Your stories and pictures show how amazing your boys are - things that cannot be charted or checked.
    We are about to load our wagon up with cargo & kiddos and head out on our annual summer vacation. I'm going to try to focus on the good & happy, myself. Thanks for the reminder that life is wonderful, if we choose to see it.
    Love & happiness to you sweet Momma xoxoxo Miracle

  3. It's also a few weeks away from my Adam's birthday (him and Greyson must be very close in age). I totally agree. This is the first year that I am not sad at all. So we may keep getting farther away from the skills on the checklist, but we have accomplished so much Joy in the last year it's something to celebrate. It is also funny how I have been racking my brain for the perfect "birthday party" for the kid who hates parties. Last year we were lucky enough to go to an outdoor concert on his birthday which was a huge hit. It's a day to be celebrated doing something my son loves. It is amazing how that has changed over the last few years. My son teaches me something new and beautiful every day.

  4. Wow! All I can say is wow!

  5. Beautiful post, as always. Your boys are gorgeous, and you are an amazing mother. I love reading your encouraging posts and enjoy your stunning photos. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wonderful!
    Also, just a thought, have you tried changing their food habits at all? I am not in any way an expert on this stuff, but I was at a cooking class (healthy snacks for children) and the teacher was commenting on how her sister has a child with autism and decided to totally change their diet to all natural/bio/healthy and has seen a marked improvement.
    Good luck and love your pictures!

  7. Another post filled with wisdom and reminders about the importance of keeping perspective. Beautiful, beautiful photos of you and your boys. Thank you for continuing to write for all of us! I so look forward to reading your words.

  8. You inspire me with everything you write. Makes me love my memories from when I was a speech-language pathologist. So many wonderful people like you touched my life!