to barclay on his tenth birthday

oh my boy.

A decade has gone by since they placed your squirmy red body and your misshapen head onto my chest and into my long expectant arms. You must know. You MUST know how I love you. Ours is a special love, an untouchable love. I will say it again and again, I have never wanted anything more than I wanted you.

This was a year of triumph for you. I’ve watched you struggle since day two of your life. Piece by piece we have fit together many things that make you feel yuck (allergies, special needs…) but this year we found a wonderful psychiatrist who worked with us and a wonderful new therapist to decided to medicate you for ADHD.

I feel like I fought my whole life to avoid this diagnosis. I tried ev.ery.thing. else one could think of (herbs, cbd, OT, kinesiology, acupuncture, chiro, massage, diets, cleanses, etc etc etc) . Much to my surprise and delight, you IMMEDIATELY reacted well to it. I’ll never forget it was a Saturday morning and I gave you your first pill and for the rest of the morning you played with your siblings without lashing out or yelling once. It was our first relaxing Saturday at home since you were born.

You went from a terrible student (although everyone knew you were brilliant), no friends, parents at their wits end of how to help you…to who I’ve always known was under all the discomfort. A freaking amazing kid.

Today you have friends and can keep them. You have 3 best friends at school-a club of the cutest little imaginations there are.. You are soaring in your school work and you have confidence. You feel good about yourself. I start pouring tears every time I think of it.

I remember holding a 2 year old in my arms as his eyes traveled back and forth at lightening speed, trying to hold his body so that he would not explode from energy. I remember the baby who cried every waking hour. Such a long journey in so many ways but you finally, FINALLY feel good in your body and your mind.

We did have quite the setback in December where we were reminded how bad things used to be. A quick med adjustment helped calm you right down and we are back to a good place. Why do I fight them so much? Drugs are amazing! Lifesaving! You and I talk a lot about our special brains and the medicines we have to take to feel better. We aren’t alone.

Barclay, you are on the cusp of something. Boyhood maybe? I watch breathlessly as you run around in your tattered moccasins and your old coon skin cap. Will today be the last day that you are so unbridled and so imaginative? Your imagination is brilliant and everyone loves to be around you because you bring such a magical life to those around you. You haven’t quite figured out it isn’t “cool” to be a fox at school or that most people don’t spend their days creating worlds and storylines. I love that about you and I hope we have years more of it.

On your class trip to Cherokee this year you wore your moccasins so proudly. I got to chaperone and watch you and it was just plain sweet. I was giddy the whole day.

Daddy and I took you to your first concert, Mandolin Orange. You loved it and then you fell asleep in my arms at the end. I looked up to the starry sky and I felt such sorrow and such joy. That’s it. Sorrow and joy. That’s what it is to raise a boy of almost 10.

Because you feel good in your body for the first time in your life, you are able to be kind to your siblings for the most part. Gentleness and protectiveness with Lucy (see suitcase picture) and inclusiveness and camaraderie with your brother.

You were able to go to 2 weeks of Camp Rockmont this summer and you THRIVED. You didn’t write me one single letter. When I picked you up you buried your head in my neck and whispered, “I might have been just a little bit homesick.”

You took mandolin lessons the first of the year. We are hoping to start back up soon. One time in our neighborhood there was a band playing for fourth of July and you went and got your instrument and joined in.

You are the most incredible little human. You have no fear and you talk to adults like you are one of them. You are so personable and engaging. All adults adore you. You like to dress up fancy, in a jacket and tie. I love that you don’t even notice you are the only one.

This year I have screamed things to you I regret with my whole being. We have fought like we were enemies. It is so very hard to be your mother at times-especially when I feel so out of control in keeping you safe or others safe (this is when you haven’t been properly medicated). Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because it’s so hard. But Barclay, you are worth it. You are worth every pain and I believe you will grow up to be the most incredible man. I know these hard times will shape you to be compassionate. I know your intensity will go to wonderful things.

And your freckles…oh your freckles….

I pray you know my love just a little bit more this year and mostly that you know the unending, unchanging love of your savior.

It’s finally your birthday!