My son Brady is many things. He is an often frustrating student who doesn't pay attention to his teacher's directions. He is a bit of a mystery to his doctors. He is a sweet, often mischievous little brother to his sister. He is a grandson to doting grandparents that love him like they would love any other precious grandchild. He is our son. Our son who challenges us so much, that most days I have to take a deep breath before the day begins. Our son, who makes me cry almost daily with frustration, love, worry and fear. Our son, who we so love so deeply that it makes my heart break and swell all at once. Our son who is many things to many people, but to us, he is just Brady. Brady, who despite his obstacles, challenges and long road ahead of him, is quite frankly, the happiest person I know.
Brady smiles more than most people. He laughs more than anyone I know. He is a funny kid. He is definitely the comedian in our family. There are so many days that I focus on what is "wrong" with Brady or what is "different" about Brady, and I don't stop and enjoy all the things that are incredibly enjoyable about Brady. If you are having a bad day, one smile from Brady can change your whole day and make you stop and enjoy the simple, happy things. One smile from Brady can remind you how wonderful childhood glee can be. Brady has not been able to find his words, or even his simple sounds yet, but his smile can say more than most people can with their words. When Brady smiles, I can see into his soul and I know he is happy and content with who he is.
Brady has found his laugh, his giggle, his chuckle. We hear it so often in our house. His teacher told me recently, he is laughing so much more in school now. Knowing he is laughing in school, even if it is by himself or with his teachers, and not yet his classmates, I know he is happy, safe and content at school. His laughter tells us that.
Brady laughs a lot. Brady laughs if you stub your toe and yell out in pain, he laughs if you forget something and mutter under your breath, "darn it", Brady laughs if you use a funny voice when talking to him and Brady laughs when you actually say something funny. This is a sign to us, that Brady is understanding what is happening around him. He is cognizant of the behaviors around him. This is such a good sign for his cognitive development. It makes everyone in our house laugh too. Brady knows he is funny. He knows he is a comedian.
Brady has very low muscle tone and because of the hypotonia, he shuffles his feet a little bit when he walks. But the comedian in Brady comes out if you sing "everybody's shuffling, shuffling"....because you will look over and Brady will be shuffling down the driveway-and of course smiling when he does it. Sometimes, Brady does a funny walk-where he doesn't bend his legs and puts his arms out in front of him. My mom nicknamed it the "Lerch walk" after the Adams Family character-sure enough, if you say "Brady do the Lerch walk," out go his arms, the walk starts very slowly and the smile creeps across his face.
Brady developed a very strange love this summer. Think the character "Wilson" from the tv show "Home Improvement". Remember how he would peer over the fence to talk to Tim Allen's character? That's what our Brady wanted to do this summer. He would drag his dad or "Bubba" over to the tall, wood fence we have in our backyard and motion to be picked up...he would peer over the fence-for as long as they would let him....and he would howl in laughter the whole time.
I believe that Brady knows he is funny. And if you really want to get Brady smiling, watch him dance to some hip-hop or any other fast music his older sister puts on to show off her own dance steps. He will get bouncing and moving his feet, just a little bit and boy, will that smile take over his whole face. He knows his dance moves are the kind Elaine would bust out with on Seinfeld....he knows he is funny.
Brady is the one who makes us laugh. Brady is the one who makes us smile.
When the day has had so many bumps in it or when the road ahead looks so daunting, it is Brady who will put up his arms for a hug and crack a big smile-to tell us everything will be ok. Brady wakes up every morning laughing. Most 3 1/2 year olds will call out to the parents to tell them they are up-but since Brady can't do that-he starts laughing, louder and louder until you come in his room to get him out of his crib.
You can't help but laugh yourself when you flip on his light and see that smile. I need a good 1/2 hour with the news and coffee before I even smile. Molly and Joe need about 20 minutes alone before they can even say "good morning"-but not Brady.
Brady wakes up with a laugh and welcomes each day with his infectious grin. Brady amazes me. He welcomes each day with open arms and a love for life that so many of us take for granted.
I wonder many days if Brady has any idea how challenging his life is. I wonder if he can comprehend what is happening around him. I wonder if he feels left out when he sees his peers playing together and communicating. I wonder if he is frustrated that he can't tell us what he needs. I wonder if he wishes he could tell us a funny joke and laugh along with us.
I hope he realizes how much happiness and much needed laughter he brings to our lives. Brady makes me laugh and he makes me smile just by being the amazing little boy he is.I know when I look into his eyes and see him smile, I feel like things will be OK.
I hope when Brady looks into my eyes and sees me smile, he knows that things will work out just the way they are suppose to and everything will be just fine.