OK, let me start with this:
This is the first photo EVER of Malachi supporting HIMSELF while standing. This was after a stream of firsts the day before, including sitting completely by himself for a few seconds while I let the cat in and several cognitive steps, such as touching his ear when I asked where it was.
These amazing things all happened midweek. So why has it taken me so long to blog about it?
Well, I could say I was busy (true) and that I'm working on bringing my novella to paperback form (also true), but the truth is I was confused by what I felt about Malachi's first milestones in a very long time. I posted the photo on Facebook and was startled at the immediate and overwhelming reaction of my friends and family. Friday night, I showed the photo to a woman I've met only a handful of times and she started crying. Crying.
I was happy about it, but I wondered why I wasn't as overjoyed as they seemed to be. Aren't I the person who should be the happiest?
Thinking about this in my car yesterday, I began to cry tears of joy that quickly turned to the not joyful kind. The situation bore too strong a resemblance to the many, many times I drove to the NICU with tears streaming down my face to see my children — one with undefinable brain damage, the other with serious lung problems — plugged into wires in heartless plastic boxes.
It is curious how easy it is in the midst of tragedy to imagine that things will never be good again, yet in the midst of blessings it is equally easy to imagine how it could all be snatched away. It doesn't quite seem fair that joy can be so easily sullied by fear while pain is fairly immune to solace.
As I thought about these things, hoping other drivers didn't notice how upset I was, Adele crooned over the radio: "It isn't ooooooooover."
That's when I realized why I wasn't as happy as I probably should be. It's not over. We have so much further to go and the gains Malachi has made are not assured to be permanent and, and, and....
And as soon as I identified why it was that I couldn't permit myself to be fully happy, I knew how silly that was. Yes, it's not over. Yes, we have a long way to go. But yes, today my boy has made me so proud and yes, today I'll take my joy where I can get it — straight up. No rocks, please.