Before I left for the book reading tonight I kissed Jake in that sweet spot behind his ear, and half way down his neck. He still smells like my baby in that spot, though he is so tall now, and I can already see where his peach fuzz will turn to soft brown hair on his face.
I kissed him and I thanked him for making me the mom I am today. It is never a life we would have chosen, but it is a better life. I am a better woman.
Jake, my perfect child, is the reason I know so many great people and have done some very interesting and satisfying things. He is the reason I am president of the Special ED PTA, have edited and published two books and why I was on an esteemed radio program this morning. He is the reason I wrote a story that was good enough for publication in someone else's anthology, and why my precious Momster drove several hours to see me read that story.
It is a hard life. We will not get to do so many of the things I dreamed I would do with my family. Our plans are different, and our opportunities don't seem as limitless as they once did, but we are in a good place tonight. This family is healthy and happy and I feel blessed for all I've been able to witness and all of the events I've been a part of, all of the life I have now that I never would have seen without my boy, without Jake and all of his disabilities.
My dad once thanked me for teaching him how to be a father. He sweetly told me that I was the person who changed him from a man to a father because I am his first born. I get that now.
Jake has changed me forever, and I can never thank him enough, except to continue to advocate for him, and to love him deeply.