Etienne made me cry today. Twice.
Tears are normal. These were tears of happiness and that is not normal.
That is evidence of God's grace.
The first tears were when I picked him up from Sunday School. Ryan was down the hall, so I was bracing myself to get the report. The man, bless his heart, could see my tension from across the room and flashed me a thumb's up. He went on to tell me that E was respectful and stayed on task; and Etienne was able to give me the entire lesson. He smiled ear to ear and leaned against me as he talked. Tears. I squeezed him a bit too tight and I am pretty sure this teacher got a bit emotional on us too.
Later, I asked Etienne if he would go to the store with me, just the two of us on a date. I get that some families take their kids on real dates but in real life, in big families, we look for filling the gas tank or picking up a gallon of milk to be special alone time. That's just life. Now normally, Etienne ignores me when I ask him, or he will say "That's okay." Today he sprinted to get his shoes.
We only needed potatoes but I wanted to savor every minute with just him. Especially with this mood...like maybe he likes me?! kinda mood. We counted carts. We looked for the letter E on signs. As we were leaving, my son even carried the potatoes for me. By the time we walked in the door, I was crying. Ryan hugged Etienne and gave me his "this is awesome for you, babe" look.
These little things are a big, big deal. I take comfort in knowing that there are other parents out there that understand my constant exhaustion at trying to make him feel my love. I don't joke when I say that he still pulls and pushes away, that he doesn't say "I love you," that he asks for Daddy and never Mama, that my job most of the time is to keep him physically from hurting himself or the space around him. And when I am not doing that I am wracking my mind brain at how I can find a fun way to show him affection while also making him walk up and down the stairs using his feet and not his arms, his torso, his head and/or gravity.
I am still crying as I write this, feeling so overwhelmed at a glimpse of who my son is. Today was a good, good day.