Today E and I went to a “Baby Boot Camp” at our YMCA. Group things like this are a little bit of a rarity with E’s immune system not up to par, but we went because her therapies had been canceled and Mama needed to get out. And it was great! There were 3 other Mamas with their babies, along with something I am noticing more and more.
The Gap between Ellie and her peers. It was subtle before, when they were 9 months old and skills were fairly scattered about. But now, as her peers and even younger kiddos hit their milestones: walking, talking, developmentally appropriate playing… There it is. At Boot Camp, church, music class, play dates, the grocery store. It’s there. So there. The other babies at the Boot Camp, her age or younger were almost all walking, talking, playing with each others’ toys. Yet E stayed in my arms, smiling during the workout but unable to interact at the same level with the other babies. Where other babies her age are toddling about, drinking out of sippy cups, talking up a storm, and taking care of baby dolls, E is army crawling, still on a bottle, and hitting light up toys… at least a year behind herself.
And the Gap will continue to grow. It will. And I’m learning that it’s okay. Because you know what I am finding in the Gap?
Understanding. Graciousness. Patience. Kindness. Opportunities for growth. From and for all who come into contact with E, even me. Though her limbs may be floppy, her sassy attitude isn’t. Though she doesn’t talk (YET), when her earnest face breaks into a smile it communicates to even the hardest heart a sense of joy. She isn’t typical… and that is just fine. The Gap shows others that different isn’t scary, it’s just different.
And do you know what else I have found in the Gap? Ben and me. We want nothing more than to talk about our E. Ask us questions, get more information from us. We would absolutely love to give you a genetics lesson: you will totally impress everyone you know when you can talk about what an unbalanced translocation is. We will tell you about parts where E isn’t typical, probably in too much detail: we will tell you about her therapies and specialist visits, the hard days and the weird things. However, we will mostly tell you all about the parts that she is totally normal. She is mischievous and super clever. She is stubborn and determined. She is funny, and full of life. We want to share the joy that she brings us, so we stand in the Gap for her, no matter how wide.