Four years ago, @ had been home from the hospital for less than a month. He was 4.5 months old and maybe weighed 7 pounds. He was attached to an oxygen tank and sat monitor 24x7. (It beeped. We jumped. ) We gave him breathing treatments 3x a day. He saw at least three doctors a week. He took more meds than the average octogenarian. We had to track his feeding, meds, and diapers on a spreadsheet to ensure he got enough calories each day, that the input & output matched, etc. When he threw up, we had to estimate how many calories came back at us. The kid could puke for distance.
That was then.
On Sunday @ and I took a two-mile hike in the hills. He walked the entire way. He found deer tracks and we saw deer. He met a horse. We talked to the chickens in the 4H coop at the park. Later, I worked in the yard and he practiced running. After the hike. Keep in mind, he's not yet three feet tall. Those little legs took a lot of steps.
We had gone to a track meet to see a friend's daughter run on Saturday. At first, the concept was odd.
"Mama, why are they running?" To see how fast they can go.
"Mama, why do they want to go fast?" Err... It's a challenge.
"Mama, why does that guy have a gun?" It's not a real gun, but when it goes off, they start running.
"Mama, who is the guy with the flags?"
"Mama, what does the red flag mean?"
"Mama, what does the white flag mean?"
"Mama, where did the starter guy go?"
If there's a question to be asked, you can bet @ will ask it.
"Mama, can I do that too?"
It was an open meet with all age groups, including kids his age. He clapped at the finish of every race. He clapped when the slowest runners crossed the finish line. He insisted we buy running shoes on the way home. He's been talking about practicing on a track since Saturday. His Sunday practice included setting up a starting line and having me count down his starts. He set up cones as hurdles.
When he was born, he didn't cry. He couldn't. He was 14 weeks early. He weighed less than 2 pounds. He was on a ventilator for 2.5 months. He needed surfactant therapy. He was on the vent longer than anyone wanted him to be. His lungs were smaller than my thumbs. The x-rays were always white with fluid. The doctors weren't sure he'd survive. If he did, they predicted he'd be pretty fragile, definitely asthmatic, likely developmentally challenged, maybe vision-impaired, etc.
He's four, but the 24-month pants still fall down. He still has trouble eating. And technically his lungs are still healing from the damage the vent did just to keep him alive.
And you'd never know it. He's not asthmatic. He only uses an inhaler when he has a cold. He doesn't wheeze. He hikes. He runs. He runs. And then, he runs.
He wants to run. He wants to race. He's amazing. And he's my kid.