I’ve said before that one thing Kender brought to us was the reminder to find joy in the little things. I spent much of my parenting life in crisis mode. It’s hard to do otherwise with triplets! Every feeding and mealtime is an event, every trip out of the house is a constant need for attention, watchfulness, diapers, shoes, jackets, food, drink, planning planning planning. It wasn’t until Kender was born that the triplets were really able to start being self-sufficient and to help out with the other kids. With that came a huge shift in how our family runs, with me stepping back into a more “managerial” role instead of doing everything myself. Then Kender himself brings along his extended toddlerhood, as though he is shouting at me to look and see, this is what is important, this is what you’ve been missing!
Little things stick out more with him. I remember taking the kids to the park one day last year, and following Kender around the park, watching him discover how to get to the slide and where the swings were and the joy of going across the bouncy bridge. I never quite had that same joy with the other kids, because you simply can’t follow three (four, five) kids around the playground like that. All I could do before was push the occasional swing and watch the exits. Now, all the other kids were able to play independently, without needing to be watched, and I could focus on just this one and watch his joy.
The other night, I decided to go for a walk with the family after dinner. We went around the cemetery loop, which is just over a mile and a half. This was the first time we’d gone for anything longer than around the block with Kender actually walking, instead of in a stroller. He couldn’t stand having to hold hands while crossing streets, but in the cemetery, he really took off. I got him to run, and he would chase after me, giggling and running and pushing his cane ahead of him. He ran, off and on, the rest of the way home, looking so happy!
Kender is a reminder to enjoy things while they are here, that there are more important things than having a clean house or a beautiful garden or checking off all the lessons on the curriculum, or hitting all the developmental milestones. He is a reminder that there is joy in life despite obstacles, despite trials, despite disabilities.