Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dear McKye

McKye just turned 4 a few weeks ago. 

It's been a magical age. 

First of all, I'm glad he consented to go through with it-- seeing that in the months leading up to his birthday he informed us that he didn't want to turn 4 at all and would just rather stay 3. 

"No, I stay fee," he'd state, with his little end of story voice.

Now he regularly does things we've been trying to get him to do forever, and announces, "I four." like its' the most obvious, self-explanatory explanation in the world.

"I swim by myself now... I four."
"I pee standing up...I four."
"I do up my coat myself...I four."

Seems to be no end to his newly acquired four-year-old-skills!

"I good at rock band...I four."
"I like pizza now...I four." (a great relief  because who wants to go through life not liking piza.?!?!)

Right around his birthday, I thought about a letter I wrote him when he was little. Then I panicked when I couldn't find a copy of it. After booting up an old laptop that wouldn't connect to the internet, and has a broken SD slot, I ended up transferring it directly onto a hard drive--all a little bit too much effort (does the constant changing technology give anyone else intense stress concerning the preservation of our family memories??? How many VHS tapes do we keep saying we're gonna get put on DVDs, but them we realize, we hardly even use DVDs anymore!) Anyways, I told myself, you need to get that on your blog as a nice back up.

So here it is:

Dear  McKye,
I’ve felt impressed to write this letter for sometime. Now with another baby on the way, I felt even more that I needed to take the time to explain to you how much you have blessed our family. As a write this you are barely 18 months, an active happy toddler, who we have just loved getting to know. But I want you to understand this is more than a description of you as a child, because a lot of what I’d like to share has come not just from observing you in our home, but from deep and sacred spiritual impressions about who you truly are, and who you have always been—a spirit child of our Heavenly Father’s specifically chosen to come to our family at a very specific time, to serve a very specific purpose.
Many of these feelings came to me, before you were even born. The summer I was pregnant with you, we were coming to terms with your brother’s lack of development. He had been “my little buddy” for two years, and I could not imagine loving anyone more, until I heard your heart beat, and felt your little body fluttering inside me.  And then I knew that with each child, the Lord endows us with more and more love—His  love. You may have already heard me say this, but a parent’s love is different. Romantic love is powerful and has the potential to be eternal but within it there is an element of choice. I choose to continue loving your father each and everyday. But with you, with all my children, this is different. There is NO choice. I can not help but love you, with a love so intense and strong, that sometimes it is overwhelming.
My overwhelming love and hopes for Aaron were threatened as we began assessing his abilities and coming to terms with the fact that he was not developing in a typical way. Although we were already quite sure, the official diagnosis that he had autism was not made until the day I was in labour with you.

The Lord has interesting timing.

But as I said, many feelings had already come to me before that time.
Now Aaron had been an extremely difficult baby, and I admit I was scarred to undergo the type of sleep deprivation and just hard times that your brothers’ infancy had brought, but deep down I felt the Lord reassuring me that this baby—you—would be different. I thought maybe I was just hoping, until one day when I asked your father to give Aaron a blessing before one of his first formal assessments.
In that blessing your father spoke of Aaron’s brother, you-- and we were told that you were indeed being sent here for a special reason to help take care of and provide for Aaron’s needs. Even as a baby you have already started to fulfill that mission. 

Aaron needs acceptance, and in your innocent, loving way you have never looked at him as strange or different, just as Aaron your brother. You smile at him, and try and give him hugs and kisses, regardless of his reactions. You look up to him and copy him, even if his behaviors are strange.  You love him, with an unconditional love that is beautiful to watch, and that teaches us all.

It was immediately after that blessing that I went to my scriptures with a distinct impression that I was to find you a name that had to do something with being a brother (we’d picked out McKye already but were still undecided about a middle name).  I search the bible dictionary, thought of Moses and Aaron,  but a picture of Joseph Smith with his brother Hyrum kept coming into my mind.  So I googled the meaning of Hyrum.

“My brother is exalted”. 

I knew instantly that your name was to be Hyrum McKye.

In a book I read about siblings of autistic kids, there was one  study done to determine siblings understanding of their brother or sisters diagnosis.  The researchers describes:
“I asked her what autism was. Suzett sadly explained that it meant her brother “doesn’t even know what angles are.” Although I was a bit taken back by this answer. I proceeded with the interview. “Is there anything else you can tell me about autism?”Suzzett thought about it for a moment and then responded, “Yes, the angels help him anyway.”

I want you to know YOU are one of the angels sent not just to help Aaron, but to help our entire family. You can not imagine the joy we felt as we watched you learn to talk and imitate and even when you learned to mirror my “you know you shouldn’t do that” face. Every little milestone you took so easily and naturally was not lost on us. You were AMAZING! We would work with Aaron on something for months and you would just “pick it up” right away.  We were in awe.

You of course came with your own set of challenges. You had your own little will…a strong one. You could  know you weren’t suppose to do something and do it anyway, the whole time looking for our reaction! Unlike Aaron, you wanted to interact with us, and sought our attention constantly. You also wanted to interacted with other children, and I watched as you were shy or embarrassed, and feared the days of jr. high and high school, with their inevitable struggles to try and belong and feel accepted.  But with all the heartache, you will have more joy as well. You will get to serve a mission and marry. To set goals and achieve them, to make friends, and create a family.

There is something sacred I need you to remember. At times when it doesn’t feel fair, or you feel that maybe it would be easier to just have a “normal” brother so that not as much would be expected of you, remember this: Aaron chose to sacrifice for our family. There are things we, his parents and you, his siblings needed to and could ONLY learn from our association with him. Lessons and attributes that will help us return to our Heavenly Fathers presence. “You brother is exalted” but he also gave up a regular mortality so members of this family could learn what we needed, to be exalted too.

There was a book I read right after Aaron was diagnosed, called “George and Sam” about two autistic brothers, written by their mom. The last paragraph described a conversation she had with her third and only neuro-typical son. He had somehow been exposed to the concept of reincarnation and was working it through talking to his mom about it. In the end, he concluded, “that’d be alright I guess, as long as I could still have the exact same brothers.”

As I finish this, I am weeks away from having our third son.  With you we felt so certain that you would not have the same problems as your brother, this child we haven't had (or maybe just  haven't needed) the same reassurances. Regardless, there is one thing I KNOW. You are all meant to be brothers. And you McKye, my little middle child I worry about so much, you are the glue. Your fun, loving personality will always be one that keeps us together. From the moment you were born you brought a renewed sense of hope and joy, that we all needed.  I am so grateful to you for agreeing to be a part of our family, and I can’t wait to see the man you will become.

The  last thing I’d like to share with you is a song. One that I heard when you were only a few months old. To me it has always been a song about you. A voice of hope, sent at a sinking time, a voice sent to remind us, and point us home.  

Chelsea means “safe harbor”, and even though I try really hard to provide that for my children, you McKye have been my anchor all along, the hopeful voice, reminding me to point our family to our eternal home and that everything will be just fine.

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You'll make it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along.

Happy birthday McKye. I'm so glad you came.


Amy said...Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful Chelsea.

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips

WOW!!! That was incredible!!! I can't understand what your family has had to learn up to this point but man girl... you are such an incredible example of love, patience, depth, and faith. I LOVED your thoughts on the different love between being a spouse and being a mother...right on target. Once again thanks for sharing your inner most thougths.

Kelly said...Best Blogger Tips

What a beautiful letter! Your kids are so special, each in their own way, and this letter will be so cherished by McKye when he's older. Another great post, thanks for still writing! It made my heart all fuzzy inside :)

Crystal HW said...Best Blogger Tips

What a heart warming, beautiful letter! I appreciate you sharing/storing your letter on your may be the answer I have been seeking!

You are a great mother, and I am glad to call you friend. I know that your life is crazy, but I appreciate the fact that you blog, and fulfill your calling to the best of your ability. You are what those kids need right now, and you are succeeding.

Love you Chelsea!