By Jamie Krug
“Daddy, I want a baseball bat shirt, ” Owen tells Scott, as he is getting ready for bed.
“You have a Yankee shirt, buddy. You wore it today, ” Scott replies, helping Owen tug on the pants to his Batman pajamas.
“No, a bat shirt,” Owen persists.
I hear them from the other room and call in to Scott that I think he means a jersey, like the ones worn by the players he saw at the game today. On our walk back to the car from the stadium, Owen had declared, “When I am a big, big boy I play baseball on ‘dis team, here.”
Scott pulls Owen’s pajama shirt on, careful to ensure that the black cape affixed with velcro remains on Batman’s back, and asks “Do you mean a jersey? Like the players wore?”
“Yessss!” Owen exclaims, holding out the “s” with his enthusiasm, though is sounds more like “Yethhhhsss”, clearly thrilled that his message has gotten through.
And more messages are getting through every day. From both sides. We understand more from him, he understands more from us. And it is wonderful and enlightening. And every single day I find myself eyes-widened, repeating some phrase he has just uttered to the person who has served as witness to it right there beside me. At times it is Scott, or our beloved babysitter, or one of Owen’s therapists. It is a familiar expression for me now, eyebrows raised in happy shock, the kind of thing that I hope does bring me wrinkles as a result of skin-stretching overuse.
I have always loved my boy. I have always wanted to take care of him – to protect him and do whatever it was that I could to help him, to make sure he was getting what he needed – at first to survive and then to thrive. I have always felt connected to him. Whether it’s due purely to maternal instinct, or how affectionate and cuddly he is, or how much we are alike – it being agreed upon long ago that our careful, introverted, thoughtful Parker is very much her father, and that Owen – extroverted, impetuous, impish to the core – is so much like me, I don’t know. But it doesn’t really matter why, does it? We don’t question why we feel connected to our children – only the ways that we don’t.
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