For months now, I've been anticipating Derek walking. I'd often ask Mike how he thought he would feel once Derek took his first steps, posing the question to get a gauge on how I should feel about it myself.
The first few steps were so wonderful, almost like an official stamp to the final declaration that Derek is indeed healthy and that the Lord really did answer all of our desperate prayers for him. But now it's like the brightness of this joy has turned around to expose the grayer side of the matter...that while one son is walking, the other isn't. While Marcus' 4 year-old body is crawling on all fours, his 13 month old baby brother is walking circles around him.
Marcus is so happy for Derek. Whenever he sees him stand up by himself and take steps, he's always getting our attention to get us to admire his young toddling brother. The other night, he said, "Hey! Derek is walking!" And with giggles and smiles, he tried his best to get up and take steps on his own too, but just couldn't do it and fell.
Us: Good try, Marcus! Is it hard?
Us: Is God going to help you to walk?
Us: Is God good?
Inside, my heart tore apart as I watched Marcus struggle so hard with something that came so naturally to Derek. And now that Derek is crawling less and less and walking more and more, my heart is increasingly sad for Marcus who may soon need to look up to see his baby brother doing so easily what is so challenging for him.
But I'm conflicted. I remember the anxious anticipation during my pregnancy with Derek, when there were even discouraging perinatology appointments that had us preparing for another child with special needs. But now he's here, our most undeserved blessing, walking around as a living and breathing reminder that God most graciously answered our prayers. And I'm floored. Still in jaw-dropped disbelief.
So as I grieve for Marcus and bear a heavy weight of sadness for my beloved first son, the tears are also ones of joy as I raise my hands in utter gratitude, thanking him for the chance to raise our two boys with different roads before them.
By the way, I think I'm WAY sadder than Marcus is. In fact, he might not even be bummed at all that he's not walking like Derek yet. Tonight, we asked him if he would rather learn to walk by himself, or watch YouTube on the iPhone. Yeah...let's just say he's not really in a hurry to be ambulating about.
There is one thing he's looking forward to though. During dinner last night, we were guessing what we'll each be doing when we get to Heaven. We tossed around ideas of Marcus playing music for God and Audrey dancing for God. Out of the blue, without even being asked, Marcus had his own idea. "I will jump for God," he said.
Indeed, son. No doubt about it.