Grayson has always been a sensitive child.
When he was only six months I was beside myself with wondering why he wasn't anything like those happy Gerber babies I saw in play yards cooing at stuffed caterpillars and sweet-eyed baby elephants. He wasn't content unless one of his "people" was near enough. I mean near enough to see them, smell them, feel them with his invisible tentacles that couldn't reach across a small room.
Grayson never wanted to be alone. I realize most babies don't like to be alone but if you ever met us in the first year of his life, you would see a baby who could sense when his person even thought about sprinting to the upstairs to bring down some clothes to fold without him. He required lots of attention and loved having things explained to him. In detail. Until your brain fell out of your ears. And then again more.
It was sweet but difficult too because sometimes I just wanted to have a cozy little uncurious lump on my chest who slept for hours instead of minutes.
And if he was handed off to someone he didn't particularly have memorized, all fury broke loose. Dude was not having any substitutes.
My "friends" told me I needed to socialize him more.
I considered drinking.
My family reminded me he was Grayson and had his own personality way before we met him.
This idea finally sunk in the day a book called, "Parenting Your Sensitive Child," literally fell into our shopping cart on one of our thousands of trips to the thrift store. I practically read that puppy cover to cover before we left the parking lot. It would be my new bible; paragraphs highlighted, sentenced underlined, pages dog-eared to show Andy.
THIS AUTHOR KNEW GRAYSON! Where was BOOK TWO?
This book, my family, and a gigantic learning curve taught me how to appreciate Grayson for who he was: a sensitive, beautifully deep, and compassionate boy. Little did I know just how deep.
When he was very small, not quite two, we took a nature walk around the neighborhood. Grayson stopped to smell a neighbor's cluster of flowers. He gibber jabbered something about them and began walking again. "Mommy? What dey name?"
"What dey name, da fowers name."
"Ohhh, the flowers? Those are called, ummm, they're petunias I think."
"No, Mommy dey not toonias."
"Then what do you think they're called?"
"Dose fowers name imp-AY-shuns."
And hell if he wasn't correct. Those flowers were impatiens, I had forgotten that was their name. I should've known because my grandmother planted them every year in the front yard.
"You're right, Grayson, how did you know?"
"She tell me."
Um, what the who the what?!?
"Who told you, Honey?"
-Pointing to the yard- "Her. Dat Lady tell me."
OMGOMGOMG he can see my grandmother.
"Is she an older lady?"
"No, she is same as you."
So who knows who he was talking to but I can promise you I've never met an under-two-year-old child who can tell you the difference between a petunia and an impatien. It fa-reeeeaaaked me out. But in a good way. Suddenly I gave way to a possibility that Grayson's sensitive nature just might be a bigger blessing than I knew. Or it could just cost us playdates, playground playdates, and other people in general.
So many more stories to share about Grayson's take on the cosmos but zoom ahead to a few nights ago to a conversation we had right before he fell asleep. He was practically snoozing while he was talking which only loaned itself to the eery innocence of his words for me. I will warn you that the first sentence is a doozy. Consider yourself forewarned. He's not a child who cares much about Legos or riding his bike although sometimes I wish he was. Sometimes I wish he wasn't so consumed with the bigger picture. But he is. It's the undercurrent of his thoughts that comes out when he is comfortable, peaceful, and feeling safe. It always has been.
Our Conversation Not About Power Rangers
Grayson: Hey Mommy, we're all going to die.
(Oh boy, here we go again.)
Me: Why would u say that? Grayson: No, I mean all the people on earth are going to die because
people can't live on and on forever you know. Me: No? Can anyone? G: God. Me: Yeah? How do you get to be that guy? G: You die an then you become God. Me: So people who die get to be God? G: Yeah. Mommy? What do you think God feels like? Me: Probably like flying. What do you think?
Long serious pause, I actually thought he fell asleep thinking about it.
G: Like guarding.
Whoa. Never thought about it that way. Poor tired God.
Me: Sounds exhausting. Do you think God naps? G: No. Me: That's a raw deal. G: What do you mean, raw deal, Mommy?
Me: Nothing Honey. It just means I hope you're wrong about the napping
and right about everything else.