Paying homage to Gavin’s entrance into teenager-hood. He asked if I posted about him for his birthday and it flattered me that it might be meaningful to him. Here goes.
Gavin was an intentional, planned addition to our family. That is a strange status in our family 🙂 In the midst of some of Ethan’s worst medical and behavioral challenges, Gavin made his way into our lives and hearts.
When I became pregnant with Gavin, there were many people concerned for us, including my doctor, that he could be born with Down syndrome. The risk of having a second baby with DS after your first is 1 in 100. I suspected that I might want definitive testing to secure that information before his birth, but somehow I did not. As each day passed, I waited for the time that the statistic would invade my sleeping hours and produce daily anxiety, but it never materialized. I never needed to know whether he would or would not be born with any differences.
Just like his brother, his entrance into the world was rough, bumpy and complicated. Dennis and I both thought that Gavin looked like a baby with Down syndrome the moment he was born. Turns out that he and Ethan just share a family resemblance.
With each boy that has joined our family, we have never experienced any sibling rivalry or regression. I know that we are lucky. Ethan was thrilled with his new
plaything brother from the start. Today, Ethan still refers to Gavin as ‘baby’. It is pronounced ‘bay-ay’, and although he can produce the word Gavin, he prefers not too and I prefer not to correct it.
I enjoyed every minute of Gavin from the moment he came home. He was a ‘textbook’ schedule baby. Just stick with the program, and he was a gurgley little bundle. He ate and slept beautifully – things I was not accustomed to. He grew and developed at a rate at which was new to me – so fast, so simple, no therapists. When he spoke at 14 months, I was floored. I had no reference point for a child being so easy and pleasant.
As he became a toddler and preschooler, it only got better. While Ethan was safely and happily settled into his school program, Gavin and I did the regular stuff that I really had no chance to do with Ethan – library programs, nature classes, gymnastics, swim lessons and food shopping. I used to call him my ‘good little company’. He was fully conversational and a wonderful traveling companion. Can you start to see how homeschooling crept into our life?
Mikey joined our family at this point, and again, another brother was happily welcomed by all. Although I know that there were hard days included in this time frame, probably lots of them, it remains a time in our family history that I view with fondness.
Now, we welcome Gavin to the teen years. He remains the chatterbox that he started out as. He is rambunctious and passionate – his highs are high and we all need to share in them, and his lows are low and we all need to weather them. He makes friends easily and is very gregarious. He is contemplative and argumentative. He rarely sits down, even to eat. He is a great brother. I see sparks of leadership. He is still good company and I enjoy watching him play video games, teach himself algebra, read stacks of books, torment his brothers, bake cookies, pick a guitar, build Lego, watch documentaries, and earn merit badges.