My heart pounded and fear filtered in with the shower water. I'd gone from blissfully untethered to responsibility, singing to myself in the shower for the first time since my third son was born, to yanked back into the truth of being hugely responsible for more than my own life. Singing in the shower quickly proved a dangerous selfishness. Unaware and no longer interested in whether I was clean in all my places I turned off the shower and grabbed a towel in one sopping wet and fearful motion. I heard it again.
"Shay!! Mom, I have Shay, Shay! Moooooommmm, Shaaaayyyyy!!!"
Running naked and dripping-- both water and breast milk-- into the bedroom where I had left the new baby sleeping I forced myself to smile at Tyran as I took the baby out of his two year old arms and reminded him, "I know you love your baby brother sweetie, but I told you to let him sleep while I was in the shower."
Tyran beamed with love and purpose. "But I love my baby blooder! I want to take care of him when you have a shower!"
Daring to look at the high perch where I had hidden Shay sleeping in his bassinet, hoping to keep him out of sight and mind of Tyran who hadn't been able to stop adoring Shay from the moment he was born, my heart and head shook with the sudden understanding and weight of a love so intense. A love that I understood. Love that gives us the strength and desire to do anything necessary for the receiver of it, even if sometimes it puts everyone - including the one we love - in harms way.
Picking up the towel and wrapping it around myself I sat down on the edge of the bed to feed Shay while Tyran sat on the floor in-front of me, reaching up to gently tickle his new brother's back. As the pounding of my heart slowed I realized it was me who had been foolish. Next time I would bring the sleeping baby into the bathroom. Hiding him was the idea of a nervous sleep deprived mom. Bringing him and allowing Tyran to sit beside him would be better. I looked at Tyran's intensely love filled face as he continued to trace circles on his baby brother's back and thanked the universe for the problem of too much love.
Tyran is twenty today and I woke up this morning with that memory, that face filled with purpose and pride, on my mind.
This face has always shone with passion and intense emotions. Every time this face met a new baby brother or a new baby cousin, it glowed with pride, adoration, and protectiveness. If you told this face that it was wrong about its family being the best family, well, you would see this face transform into a different kind of passion and intensity. You were in trouble!
This face turned twenty today. And this face still shines with passion and intense emotions. It sparkles when cousins-- aka "minions"-- come running toward it. It engages with passion when brothers show up and share new music. It fills a room with joy when cousins throw a leg over the couch and laugh at its antics, its living room performances.
This face, even at twenty, will still turn passionately dangerous if you threaten his beliefs and loved ones. But it's learned over the years not to then threaten you; your beliefs or loved ones.
This face lives too far away from me, which is good -- for now. Because if it was any closer I wouldn't be able to let it go a moment without me smothering (and embarrassing!) it. Right now this face shines with love most of the time for me, and I don't want to make the mistake of tipping it into frustration. I would make that mistake. I know this face, and I know me!
This face was born knowing exactly who it is and what it wants to do. It has spent twenty years passionately proving to itself that it is who it says it is. For the most part, this face is right.
Thanks to the insistence of this face, our family has been celebrated as strong, connected, and better than anything else in the world! And, well, look at that face!!! Of course we believe it!!!
Happy twentieth birthday to my passionate son!
I love you so freaking much, Tyran!!!
I miss your face every single hour of every single day!!!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)