mommy and dane 4-2I put something away today.  At first I was just picking up Dane’s room, as usual.  Socks in the hamper, toys to their boxes, surgical tape back up on the shelf, antibiotic in the cabinet, gauze pads stacked neatly in place…

What was I doing?  Dane’s wounds were healed.  Nothing but a simple scar remained.  The habit of checking him morning, noon and night to identify where, when and how to deal with a possible catastrophe, could suddenly be broken.  The days of Dane’s room looking like a pharmacy were behind us.  I could finally put the medical supplies AWAY- away.

I stood there, breathless for a moment.   The crazy thought of adding that ‘milestone’ to his baby book briefly crossed my mind.  Like his brother Jett, Dane had a baby book of his very own… somewhere.  My baby boy had suffered the same fate as any other second, third or so on sibling.  He came second and we didn’t diligently jot down his every move the way that we had for our first born, and, oh yeah, there was that whole Cerebral Palsy thing to rain on, what should have been, his dutifully documented parade.

Yes, Dane had a first smile, first Halloween (my favorite of course!), a first word, a first haircut but the pre-printed ‘First’ pages remained pretty blank after that.  Jett’s baby book overflowed with scraps of paper, photographs, schoolwork and colorful kid drawings.  Glancing up at the two glaringly dissimilar baby books, perched high upon the shelf, time after time, became a daily reminder of Dane’s lack of ‘firsts’.  I eventually moved the books upstairs, somewhere, out of sight.

But today, Dane had a first.  I had a first – a wonderful first.  For the first time in almost a year I wasn’t afraid to check on my son.  I felt relieved.  I felt whole for my child who had lived for so long with something ‘wrong’.  OK, so he still can’t walk, still can’t use his hands the way he’d like but there is nothing wrong.

Dane is healthy, despite his diagnosis.  He is a strong, intelligent little boy, growing like a weed.  Before his last surgery we seldom visited a doctor for anything more than his usual check-ups, though there are many of those.  The doctors are always so pleased at his physicality and look forward to trying new techniques and yes, more surgery, to improve his quality of life, a life that is in no way threatened by Cerebral Palsy, anymore.

IMG_7303The threat was from elective surgery wounds that would not heal.  For almost a year he has had an open wound and the constant threat of an infection like meningitis or MRSA was always in the back (or more often front) of our minds.  His inability to truly participate in physical therapy for fear the wounds would become agitated had held him back for too long.  No bathtub, no pool time, no hot tub at Pappy’s house…  Relief had been a long time coming.

I’m looking up at the bookshelf now and something feels empty.  Something is missing.  I think I’ll spend some time today adding a few things to Dane’s baby book. Because life with Dane has taught me that firsts don’t always follow the pre-printed pages and even though Dane is five now, he’ll always be my baby.