Oh Lucas (deep sigh)
That pretty much sums up my middle child. Oh man, this boy is (deep sigh)…
My mind goes blank but, while a deep sigh typically has negative connotations, mine is also laced with relief and a feeling that I was spared.
Why is it so hard to talk about Lucas? His story is so long. So hard to explain. So… (deep sigh)… Lucas.
Ugh. I stay up nights crying about this one. He is so hard. He is so frustrating. And yet so sweet. So gentle. So full of our love.
He’s never wanted to be touched. He’s never wanted to be loved. Unrequited love has to be the most painful experience in the world. You see, my love language is physical touch. I need it. To be held. To be cuddled. To hug. It’s also how I show love to my littles. And it broke me down to a dark and scary place to have that rejected by Lucas.
Lucas has always wanted to be left alone. To play by himself. To feed himself. And slowly this characteristic started to affect his development. And, while he soared though all of the physical developments, he was lagging behind on a lot of the other parts of growing as a baby.
Mainly, he never babbled. He only made one sound. B-flat. He hit that note so many times that we eventually were able to find out that it was, in fact, B flat (Dave downloaded a guitar tuner app and measured the pitch of his “sound”). He also never made eye contact. Never really connected. He did not like to be held. And, when we had to pick him up it was a full on wrestling match to simply hold him. It would take a team of four nurses at the pediatrician’s office to take his height and weight.
My heart is beating fast just going back to this time in my life. Remembering these moments of knowing something was off and wanting to deny it at the same time. Hearing concerned doctors question me about behaviors that sounded a lot like “autism questions”. I got to a point where I was comparing him to a typical development path (as pediatricians LOVE to have you do) and he was falling short in every category.
And then, I stopped caring. And for a while, I kind of gave up. My kids watched TV all day. I stopped leaving the house. I was tired of making excuses for him — and for myself. I was tired of fighting to hold him, to put him in his car seat. I was tired of the look people gave me when they couldn’t touch him.
The more he fell behind, the more lost I felt.
And then, I did what every momma does when she’s not hearing what she wants: I switched pediatricians. And I sat in a little room with painted animals on the walls, completely ready to downplay his struggles. But instead, I broke down to a man I had just met. You see, I have always blamed myself for this. Thinking that something I had done made Lucas this way. And I had accepted that “fact” somewhere deep in my soul. On top of this guilt, I had just found out I was pregnant with Roman. It was all just too much for me to process, and I broke. Right there in the pediatrician’s office as I asked Dr. Noah,
“Is this something I did?”
I asked it under my breath between questions of Lucas’ eating and sleeping behaviors. I wasn’t even sure if he heard me. He immediately stopped. Sat down on the floor next to me, looked me in the eyes, and said,
“No. No, you did not make him this way.”
And then he said something I will never forget…
“He is going to be okay, and so are you.”
I proceeded to cry. You know, really cry — let it all out.
He referred us on to a program to test him for autism and other developmental delays. And to be honest I wasn’t upset to hear that he needed help. I needed this too. Someone to take this on with me. Someone to offer an outside professional perspective. Someone to answer my questions. To hold my hand. And mostly, I needed someone to help my sweet Lucas.
(This is the beginning of Lucas’ story. It’s so much longer than one post. Spoiler Alert: With a lot of therapy, this story has an oh so happy ending for my little boy. I think I love his therapists more than I love my own children. I will be continuing his story on Therapy Thursdays. Check back next Thursday for the Part 2.)