This morning I cried.
Elliott sat at the dining room table drawing a picture of the Three Little Pigs. It was not a brilliant interpretation. In fact, it's probably slightly "below average" for a 4-year-old. He drew the house and three figures inside... really, they were people-shaped, not pig-shaped. He drew another figure outside the house. It was clear who each of the characters were and what they were up to. It was clear this was the brick house, since all three pigs were present. Then he told the part of the story exactly as he's heard it, rhyme scheme and all.
Why did I cry? I cried because Elliott gets it.
I never taught him how to hold his crayon. I never taught him that a house is a rectangle shape. I never taught him that pigs (or people) have a round head and two arms and two legs and a mouth and two eyes and a nose. I never read and re-read him The Three Little Pigs so that he would understand the story. I never taught him anything like that.
He just gets it. And that amazes me straight to tears. All that stuff we had to explicitly teach to Tommy. And when I say we, I really mostly mean his amazing preschool and Kindergarten teachers and aides and OTs and Speech/Language pathologists and, well, not really me. This stuff was so hard for him. This is stuff is STILL very hard for him, though he has come a very long way.
So I cried with joy that Elliott understands the world in a traditional way. I cried with relief and excitement and wonder.
And I cried with sorrow that Tommy could not have it that easy. I cried for the frustrations of the past and for the frustrations that are yet to come. I cried at the unfairness of it all and the eternal question of what I could have done differently so that he wouldn't have to struggle with this un-nameable, quirky disability. And I cried at the realization that he and we are so lucky that we were in a place and among people who could observe and share our concerns....
Trail mix tears for sure.