As the kids filed into the stuffy, humid gym that was packed with families, I scanned the lines of pirates for my own little matey. As he walked in, Aidan looked through the bleachers for us. When he made eye contact, we both waved at each other frantically. My mom used to tease me because whenever my younger brother performed his trumpet on stage, I would wave like a crazy person from the audience. I was bursting with pride on his behalf. There was my little brother, on stage, playing like a professional. Doing something I could never dream of having the talent to do. And I was so proud. But my exuberance was possibly a smidge embarrassing to my parents. I think it's fun to be the mom now, because I can wave until my arm falls off and I won't embarrass anyone because my kids are waving at the other end just like I'm waving at them.
I almost fell out of my seat, waving at Aidan. I was so proud of him. He made it to his bleacher with his friends. I took a moment to rest my arm, and glanced around at the other families. I just about burst into tears because of what I saw. There were so many arms, waving frantically in the air, just like mine. There were cameras snapping. There were parents jumping around trying to get their kid's attention. I was among fellow child-admirerers. I just sat there and felt the energy of all these mamas and daddies and grandpas and grandmas and sisters and brothers, all so proud of their pirates. All waving like crazy people at their babies. It was wonderful. It made me feel warm inside, knowing that I was among fellow Wavers.
Aidan also had a Mother's Day program at school last week. Two years ago, in Kindergarten, he had a rough time during the Mother's Day Tea. I struggled too. This year was very different. It was so much fun to see how far Aidan has come in so many ways. He sang songs with his class for the moms, and then each child had a little poem for their mom that they read out loud in front of everyone. I was prepared for whatever Aidan could do that morning. If he did it all, wonderful. If he couldn't make it through what was expected, that was going to be fine too. But my little guy did it all! He read his poem with pride and then presented me with some treasures he had made for me. The whole thing looked similar to what all the other 23 kids in his class did, and if you didn't know Aidan two years ago, you wouldn't have known what a huge deal this was. But it was huge. He made me so proud, just knowing how hard he's worked on all these things to get to this point.
Yesterday in the waiting room at therapy, a little girl who I know pretty well came up to Aidan and asked me what his name was. She said "Name?" I said his name is Aidan. Then she turned to me and in her sweet fairy voice said "What's your name?" I told her it's Carrie. Then she walked away, content that she had her answers and ready to move on with life. Her mom turned to me and said she has never, ever heard her little girl say the whole sentence "What's your name?" before. She always says "Name?" What I had just had the privilege to witness was monumental for that little girl and her mama. It was huge progress. It was the result of so much work, so much therapy, so much love from the girl's mama. I told my friend that I had goosebumps. I told her how I know exactly how it is to see your child progress in leaps and bounds, and no one else in the world realizes it because it's such small progress. But you know where your child started and how far they've come. You know that whole sentence represents a huge, huge victory. I know Aidan's Mother's Day program is a huge, huge victory. I was so glad my friend told me about her daughter's sentence so that I could celebrate with her. So often I celebrate alone, which is fine, but it's much more fun to celebrate the little things with someone who really understands how enormous those things are to us. Us mamas who wait, watch, hope, love, and do everything we can to make sure our kiddos have the best life possible.
Here's to the little things that change a mama's world every day. Here's to the waving arms of proud parents. Here's to the exuberance with which I celebrate all my kids' incredible achievements, big and small.