It would take me three years to "come to terms with it". Work friends told me that for the next nine months I was "different". They thought I was going through a divorce. I was a zombie.
When Nathan was diagnosed, we had no clue how the next 11 years would stretch, grow, and change us. The world we knew before ended. The compressed reality of normalized joy and pain that most experience was replaced with one of rapturous joys and savage heartbreak. I found strength, stamina, and compassion that I never knew I had. I'm pretty sure Amanda had it all along. There's no question that she's the stronger.
We watched the world change due to the simple fact that Nathan was in it. His presence in a given situation became a lens through which we could see the reality of others. In some, we saw beauty that they themselves didn't know they possessed. In others, we saw darkness that few would dare to admit. We stood amazed by how a cute little blonde, blue-eyed fellow who barely spoke could shape the world around him without any effort or knowledge of his impact. Everybody knows Nathan. He's widely known and widely loved. I'm still amazed.
Gone were the standard dreams that most parents hold for their children. In the midst of this blow, we discovered that ours was a world of miracles. We watched in awe as our "little big man" grew from a 7-year-old who could barely answer "who, what, why , when, where, how" questions, to an independent sixth grader who was being inducted into the Junior National Honor Society in his first year of eligibility, a mere 5 years later. His "presence" among his peers is still stunning to me. Everyone knows Nathan. Most love him and have their own inside jokes with him. The kid is FUNNY!! He always has been.
When I woke him this morning, I greeted my 6'1", 290lb "gentle giant" with great pride. Amanda had risen early to prepare his favorite breakfast. He loves birthdays. Let the festivities begin!
Happy Birthday Nay!! Mom and Dad are so proud.