My second son was diagnosed with autism, but my oldest was diagnosed with asthma. Clearly, two different things, but the significance is both times, I was dumbfounded on how to care, to help and to fight. But I had to learn. Although Callie has been the heart of my writings, it was my oldest son Marquise who taught me first the meaning of stamina, persistence and hope. I do believe God prepared me for Callie through his older brother without the realization of that fact until years later.
Although my oldest was this apple dumpling that I could gorge on all the time, he had challenges beyond his hunger and wet diaper. He coughed a lot. This may not seem as serious, but it was a constant symptom in our hearing. We treated the cough with the norm – cough, allergy and flu medicine. This however tended to irritate the volcano inside of him even more. This ugly slow breathing machine (diagnosed later) that took over my son was asthma. Fear arose in me and I felt myself losing my grip on reality. I was still trying to grasp hold of bringing a child into the world. Taking care of a child with asthmatic symptoms was not something I could comprehend. This was foreign to me and somewhat unreal. My husband and a couple of his brothers had it. My uncle had it, but asthma had never been placed in my lap for viewing.
Marquise slept on six pillars. The elevation of his entire body enabled him to breathe no matter what position he was in. It also decreased the chances of the dreadful chronic cough and wheezing that seemed to creep in as soon as night would fall. He complained about being tired. I overlooked this complaint because I couldn’t understand how a four year old could be exhausted all the time. With the exceptions of a tummy ache or a scratch from a fall, he should be full of life and free from aches and pains. . . .at least that’s what I wanted for him. However, my ignorance and my disbelief will forever haunt me. I should have paid attention to the signs, that are now so very obvious. Where was my motherly instinct that shouted “LISTEN!” ? Instead, I placed his warnings on the back burner of “can’t be” and watched him suffer from my failures, as well as, what I still insist on today as my neglect. At the time, I didn’t get what was going on with my child. I knew something was affecting his body but what? I was begging God to heal my son from something that I didn’t realize had a name. In any case, I still had no idea that a tornado watch could actually turn into a tornado warning. I took it for granted. I begin to question God’s creation. He had created me but to me, I was a malfunction. I felt he had misplaced the piece that ordained me a mother. Time didn’t seem to make things any easier either. At one point I thought I was playing Chess with the devil. I kept hearing “check mate” while I sat confused on what move actually won him the game. But I soon realized that I had traded places with my son. I had wrapped myself in his security. I had dissolved my whole being in the never ending grip of his comfort. In my mind, he was fine. Imperfect me had found perfect him and I was satisfied. My eyes were open to my insecurities but closed to his needs. That had to change.
My oldest’s challenges became a teaching tool for me and a foundation of strength that I had no idea I would need until Callie was born. My son’s helplessness during his doctor visits, breathing treatments and asthma attacks are & will forever be a reminder not to repeat the cycle of same mistakes. I knew at some point I couldn’t blame innocence, unfamiliarity or fears. I had to finally step up to the plate and be a Mom.