Saturday, August 11, 2012
James excelled at smiling. When I think of him, he is almost always smiling. I am grateful for that. There were many different types of smiles. You- or at least I- never really expect babies to be as engaging as they are, to come with personalities. Before James was born I wondered what exactly I was going to do with a tiny person who could neither talk nor move. I grew up in a relatively baby free environment, no cousins, no significantly younger siblings. I never baby sat or spent a significant amount of time with babies prior to James' birth.
What I remember being most surprised at was how easy it was, and how surprisingly communicative James was in his own, non-verbal way. James never cried much or vocalized much beyond excited yelps of delight or mild fusses of displeasure, so I mostly gauged how well I was doing by how much James was smiling. And James smiled all the time. He was one of the happiest, most engaging babies I've ever known (assume a huge amount of bias). Throw him in the air, he smiles. Put him on a swing, he smiles, toss him a toy, he smiles. Once he started to laugh he'd often accompany the smiles with laughter, ranging from shrieks to a steady, hilarious chuckle. One of my favorite videos of him ever is one Kara took of him laughing at the dogs fighting. He's sitting at his playstation (or whatever you call those) and steadily laughing, his whole body heaving with it.
Even after he got sick, I remember one of the first things that let us know that he was feeling better was when he started playing and laughing again almost immediately after his first procedure (his EVD). James was a little boy who could not stop laughing and smiling even after doctors put him under general anesthesia and literally placed a drain inside his head. If anything the new wires gave him something new and fun to play with (much to his nurse's distress). I am so proud of him.
As more time passes between the when James left and now, the overwhelming impression of James must be of a smiling, happy little boy. I take great solace in the fact that whatever else happened to James, I have more memories of him smiling than anything else. Sometimes, when grief crowds in and threatens to blot out the everyday joys of being here, I think of James' smile. I remember what a delight he was to be around. And the horrible things feel much smaller. I have James to thank for that.
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Matthew Sikes at 5:39 AM