See those beautiful blue eyes there? The ones with the twinkle in them? Those belong to my little Bug. My baby, although he hates to be called that. I remind him that while he may not be A baby, he is still MY baby, so he just needs to suck it up and deal with it. Of course, I then re-promise not to call him that in front of his friends, so he forgives me and life goes on.
Bug came into our lives at a point in our marriage when we needed something outside of the two of us to remind us of the kind of people we used to be. No, we weren't trying to get pregnant to save our marriage. I don't know if we even consciously knew it was in any sort of trouble at the time. I just know that when that baby got there, a lot of very important attitudes began changing. I've mentioned here a time or two that Coach and I were very young when we got married and had Jock. Until Bug came along, Coach wasn't really sure he was cut out for the whole "full time" deal. He loved us, sure, but did he really want to give up party time for us? And he was spending quite a bit of time looking at that greener (and thinner, lets be honest here) grass over the proverbial fence.
That changed almost overnight when Bug came along. See, he was born with a partial cleft lip. And that's something you don't get to see on the ultrasound pictures. Oh no. You find out about that when you deliver your baby and you hear nothing but an odd silence from your doctor, and phrases like "I don't want to alarm you" and "Its nothing that can't be fixed". And the looks of pity and slight horror (not in a gross horror way, but in a how-do-i-tell-this-woman-her-baby-is-deformed sort of way) on the attending nurses' faces. Coach and I looked at each other, he let go of me and walked immediately over to the baby. He took one look at that little (ok, maybe not so little.... over 8 pounds and 20 inches long!) bundle, and he sounded awestruck (in that wonderful-amazed way) when he said,
He's beautiful. Just perfect.
And then Coach reached out and touched Bug's tiny, little hand. Just staring down at him wonderingly. And when they wiped him off and handed him to me, I thought the same thing. Beautiful. Absolutely perfect.
And that was the exact moment when Coach grew up and stopped caring so much about outward appearances. From the minute we left the hospital, Coach took Bug out and about quite frequently. I'm not kidding. We stopped by his work on the way home from the hospital so he could show off the baby.
Jock was enamored of his baby brother. He never noticed the cleft, either, unless it affected something. Bug had surgery when he was 4 months old to fix his lip (and it turned out amazing!), so we had to change how he was fed a bit at that point. He couldn't take a bottle anymore, as the sucking would tear his stitches. So he had to be introduced to food a bit earlier than most babies. That was ok with Jock. It meant he could feed him!
Bug grew, as babies do. He threw tantrums, as toddlers do. And he started school, as young children do. Along the way, we noticed that Bug had some *quirks*. He didn't do well with change of any sort. He never had patience with himself, and expected perfection all the time. He was brilliantly smart, but had trouble focusing in classes. Extreme mood swings. Difficulty keeping friends. Patterns and routines took on enormous importance. He was eventually diagnosed with ADHD, accompanied by a mood disorder. That explained a lot, and we are going to be eternally grateful for his WONDERFUL doctor and the medication we found that helps him to even out without making him drugged out, or changing who Bug is.
And yet, through everything, he was (and still is) the most loving and affectionate child I had ever been around. He gives away smiles to everyone he meets. He considers everyone his friend, and has the most forgiving soul to anyone who hurts him. He idolizes his big brother, even though Jock is an obnoxious teenager. He drops everything he's doing to spend time with his dad. And he loves going to the grocery store with me.
He's an amazing athlete, with so much raw, natural talent that it constantly awes people on the sidelines. He's focused on being the best at what he can control, and is learning to work with the things he can't. He is my challenge in life, in more ways that one, but he is also my heart.
And every time I look at him still, all I can think is that he will always be absolutely perfect to me.
*as I was reading this, my playlist was playing Sweet Child of Mine..... do I really need to mention the tears?* :)