Whenever we think about Marcus, there is a constant tick tock that plays in the background. Although we never know what will happen tomorrow to any of us, there is a sense that there looms an inescapable cloud over Marcus' future. Vision loss, kidney failure, and emotional pain are very real fears we face. So when we catch ourselves staring at our Champ with these possibilities, we are reminded to be thankful for today. And so, we are bountifully grateful that right now he is happy, healthy, and daily reminding us of God's goodness.
In spite of Marcus' delays and differences, or I should say, BECAUSE of Marcus' delays and differences, we look at him and think we've won the lottery. Tomorrow is a scary unknown, but today, Marcus is doing wonderfully. Here are a few things we've been marvelling at lately:
It's become quite obvious that Marcus lives and breathes music and that he is a musical genius. He recognizes Beethoven versus Mozart and can tell us all the instruments he hears in a piece of music. Not just drums, guitar, piano, violin, etc. We're talking cymbals, oboe, flute, cello, trumpet, tuba, clarinet, and many more! He also (like Audrey) has incredible auditory memory and knows exactly where he's heard a particular measure of music before. So needless to say, he thoroughly enjoyed the first piano lesson I gave him this week. Thanks to Mike's mom who already taught him Do-Re-Mi while she was here!
Marcus' speech continues to improve and we feel that he can communicate with us what he needs and wants, at a basic level. And boy, has it helped his frustrations! I remember writing this post, so perplexed by Marcus' daily difficulties, and now I've realized how much his communication deficits played into that. The other day, he was playing with my iPod when it suddenly lost battery life and shut down. Instead of hurling it across the room, he quietly repeated, "Not working, not working" until I came and plugged it in for him. I responded with a "Thank you, God."
What joy it is also to hear him tell me what he did at school! It amazes me that on the way home, he can tell me what toys he played with, which therapists and teachers helped him, what he ate for snack, who he played with, and even if he took a fall and got a boo-boo. He also tells us what songs he sang at Sunday School.
It's also sweet to hear him try to console Derek when he's crying by saying, "It's okay, Baby." But he'll use that same line when he purposely pinches Audrey, makes her cry, and then sarcastically says, "It's okay, Noona." Why that little...
And of course, there's his sense of humor:
Me: Marcus, is there pee pee in your diaper?! (a bit annoyed because we're trying to potty train)
Marcus: (pause) Maybe
Up until the last 8 to 12 months, going out with Marcus was very tiring. He thrashed about in his carseat during red lights and did the same when idle in his stroller. He was also very impatient in his highchair at home, at restaurants, and during snack time at school when his food didn't come right away. But for some unknown reason, something clicked and he calmed down. We rarely use the DVD player in the car anymore and he's even fallen asleep during long rides, which is a miracle!! And now we can put him at the table and he can sit there patiently for minutes. SO thankful! There are still a few other sensory issues he deals with, but are praying for improvement in those areas as well.
Marcus' OT at school had to write 2 new goals for him because he already met 2 annual goals within months of starting school. It's amazing watching him draw shapes and happy faces and gain strength in his fingers.
He also reached a few of his classroom goals early, so now, his pre-academic skills are age appropriate or above. The only areas of deficit now, are speech-related. It's alright...it's good to keep the smarty pants humble. :-)
Although not walking independently yet, he is gaining more of his balance while standing for a few seconds at a time on his own. We are also able to walk while holding one hand and giving him support with the other. On the walker, he is getting a lot better at turning corners and gets so proud of himself for it.
We took a walk around the neighborhood this week and it was a treat watching him explore. He's got a thing for plants and flowers and insists on smelling everything.
(yes, he's smelling grass)
If you told me 5 years ago that we'd have a son with a brain abnormality that caused a speech delay, sensory processing difficulties, a vision impairment, and that even at 3 and a half years old, he wouldn't be walking independently but that we'd still be thankful, I would have thought you were smoking crack. If you told me during the first dark 2 years of this journey that we would eventually have peace and joy in our hearts, I still would have thought you were smoking crack. Don't misunderstand. We still deeply mourn over our son. But the grief is often held up by our Father's promise that He'll continue to take care of us if He's already given us His Son (Romans 8 :32). And He is taking care of us. He's taking care of us today and won't forsake us tomorrow.