We are fairly traditional when it comes to having a Christmas tree, huge childhood birthday celebrations, and Tucker’s bedtime routine. Which – the bedtime routine each night – is exactly the same.
Every. Single. Night.
First, milk downstairs. Then choosing a toy, but not before he hides under a blanket and I say “Oh no! What is this? A present? For me?” Then, the toy choosing, and one of us carrying the toy and the milk while the other carries Tucker up the stairs upside-down (which is getting more difficult as he’s now topped 50 pounds – and yes, he’s four).
He then gets “boofed” on the bed, we have a little clothing removal war, a pee, jammies, the Monkey Song, almost-teeth brushing, and then, we all head to his room (in order). He lies in bed with Robert, they read the rocket book, and I come back in (after doing my special knock so that Tucker can hide and I can enter asking how Daddy lost him while wondering where he is) for song tickles and lights out.
I say “light, bed” at the end of song tickles. The song, and the back tickles are the same, every night.
We say I love you (well, I do. He says “I you,” which is awesome enough), ‘nite, and “twee dwees” (sweet dreams).
The point is that it’s a routine. It’s nice, and that’s a tradition, right?
Becoming the family that we are today has had many paths. Some traditional, and some less so. The following are a few of the milestones.
Advanced Maternal Age being stamped on all of the paperwork meant that I had Tucker when I was 40. While it was traditional in the sense of the questions, the feet swelling, the bra sizes, the scared, the hopeful, and the awesome, it was also bed rest at 26 weeks. It was shock and awesomeness, that I finally got knocked up when we weren’t expecting to.
It was life.
It was going to the doctor and having a room full of eight people who needed to see what a pregnant 40-year old’s incompetent, oldass cervix looked like. It was the hope.
It was an amnio. The implied need, horror, and guilt. It was the fear that I’d lose this baby, too. That this time, it would be my fault.
It was birthing him.
It was finding out two years later that he was delayed.
It was that we waited, and continue to wait, for language, and hope. That we already have both. That we’re getting there.
It means that life is scary. That sometimes, being a special needs mom sucks, even though I said that it doesn’t. Sometimes, it does. Sometimes, it’s bigger than I am, and bigger than this home is.
It also means that at the age of 40, I gave birth to the most amazing person in my life. It means that I love him more than I love myself. It means that he is better than I am, in every way and all of the ways.
It means that he’s important. Even though sometimes, he’s hard.
Tradition can mean disappointment. Who hasn’t anticipated an amazing family gathering to leave it, feeling attacked, and sad, and unfulfilled?
Tradition can mean wonder. Delight. Magic. Because who hasn’t anticipated an amazing family gathering to leave it, feeling like “we should do this more often,” fulfilled, and at peace?
Having a baby at 40 who has special needs can mean disappointment. Who hasn’t looked at a routine or a remark, and felt attacked, misunderstood, and alone?
Who then, also, hasn’t looked at a tradition, or a validation, and felt wonder, in awe, and full of earned pride?
I am able to thank the universe for freezing cold snow angels made by a four-year-old.
I am grateful, and present, for snow, even when tearing my hair out because it’s day three of no school due to that snow.
I have felt the frustration, the empathy, the worry, the doubt, the pride, and the love. The wonder. Traditionally, and non-traditionally.
Both of them, both of the times.
Or something that’s close enough.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “We are both traditional, and non-traditional. I…” Today’s sentence was brought to you by Jean, of Mama Schmama. Her extra cool prize is that tonight, she’s a co-host, too! Go show her some love!