I slowed down as if something hit me. Fortunately there were no cars behind and I was able to make a safe U-turn just before the entrance to the freeway. The flight was a little over 2 hours away which would have been the first since the pandemic started.
My siblings and their families were eagerly awaiting to join them for the baptism of my nephew and the birth-day celebration of my niece. I had already packed gifts for all the children so that was not an easy decision but boy I love you so much I felt something was not right…that I couldn’t leave you and your sister the way you reacted…crying and hanging to me ignoring your mom’s outstretched hands to take you back to the house.
That was also the first time you said “Ba-baa” looking at me and refusing to leave me which was special.
Miku, you were running in the house when I explained to your sister about the trip. You were a little over 3 but you were not using words to express in a way your sister would have. Your eye contact had improved and you were making vocalizations but your communication was limited to hand gestures such as pulling me or your mom to the kitchen table to lift you to reach the grapes or to the garage door to get out of the house. Of course your amazing fascination with numbers…I don’t know how many 3 years olds can count up or down from 50 or a 100 as you did then.
Zero one, zero two, zero three
I would like to remind you that by 3 you had stopped some of the repetitive things that you did such as rolling a water bottle or spinning yourself. You enjoyed jumping trampoline, running in the park, climbing in the playground but never cared about dolls or other children except your sister who was your therapist. She wouldn’t give you anything unless you looked her in the eye. You enjoyed her singing often touching her mouth to sing the same song over and over again.
The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.
You are a handsome little boy with a gift for numbers who one day can can become anything you would want to be but we had lots of anxiety mainly driven by our eagerness to do what we could for you to catch up in some of the communication delays while keeping up on your strength in numbers. There were also days you would surprise us by using both hands on a little Piano that your mother’s friend gave you during your birth day.
Your mom was shocked when I called her that I was on my way back to the house. She knew how that departure was emotional but I didn’t tell her my concerns about separation anxiety which can be severe in children like you who can’t express themselves throwing kids sometimes in to tantrums.
When I reached home you didn’t even care to look at me or turn when I called your name but a moment later you held my hand pointing to the cheerios. You stuffed a handful in your mouth. I knew that my return had comforted you and alleviated your anxiety in those days when you were not able to express yourself verbally.
The next day we walked together in the local YMCA before heading to Key Largo to eat lunch in your mom’s favorite seafood restaurant. You sat on a high chair and ate all the French fries ignoring the chicken fingers that came with it while clapping, on occasions, to the sound of reggae that was playing loudly, or so we thought, while your sister ate Mac and Cheese.
On the way back we stopped by a pumpkin store to take a picture and buy a pumpkin that your sister picked for the up coming halloween.
Miku, we love you boy!