Wil opened the refrigerator. He started to take out what he wanted to eat. “Mom, where is the relish?” A full sentence complete with question mark at the end.
“Look in the door of the refrigerator, Wil.” He pointed to a shelf in the door of the refrigerator. “Ok, now look up a little higher.” He raised his arm and pointed higher. “Good. Now over to your right.” His raised arm moved to the right and his pointed finger landed right in front of the relish.
“Oh, there it is!” He said. Another full, complete sentence this time with an exclamation mark at the end. Memories of putting those words together flooded back to me. The celebration of 2 words put together, then 3. Dreaming of the day the sentences would be full and complete. That is now our every day reality but it never feels every day ordinary.
Wil pulled the relish off of the shelf, grabbed all of the supplies he needed, loaded them in his arms, and carried them to the counter. Memories of fine motor skill and speech therapy came rushing to the forefront of my brain. The days of putting Cheerios on his high-chair tray as a toddler to work on his pinscher grasp. Placing the Goldfish cracker box on a high shelf so he would be motivated to point and ask for it.
“Ta-da!” He said as he released all his gathered supplies on the countertop. His accomplishments hold their own kind of magic.
It is said “it’s the little things in life.” That is a lovely, little thing to say, isn’t it? But do we really live it? When big things happen the little things get quickly shoved aside. The big things are loud, they feel urgent, and they beg for our attention. The little things are much quieter and patient. If we aren’t brought to a halt to notice them, “it’s the little things in life” remains a lovely, little saying and is quickly shoved aside. But, if you are lucky, something happens in life that stops you in your tracks. It’s highly unusual for us to feel lucky, though, when these life-halting events happen. But that’s the point. They have to hit us hard enough to stop us. To shove what we believed were “big things” aside so we can take notice of the little things and put them in proper perspective.
There are so many steps and processes with Wil. There are no urgencies. No “big things” that will move him along faster. And if you believe you have them, Wil would put a halt to that very quickly. Wil works on his own timeline. With Wil, it’s all little things. Katherine nicknamed him “Wil ‘the snail’ Taylor” as only a big sister could. Many of us parents at our Down syndrome support groups all share how our kids have found a way to slow us all down and we are humbled and gratified by this. Well, most of the time, when we aren’t pulling our hair out trying to find a new solution to a stubborn problem. But again, that proves my point. We have to slow down to move forward.
When I truly understood “it’s the little things” is more than just a lovely, little saying, it was like I suddenly had been let in on this little, magical life secret. All of these little things are attached to me because of the life process I have been through, but they hold no strings, no chains. They are light, they are free, they are spontaneous. There are no time constraints, no urgencies, they are always there patiently waiting to be discovered. When I do discover them, like on this typical Thursday afternoon in my kitchen, I feel like exclaiming my own, “Ta-da!” right along with Wil.