Just one look at his tiny body, hooked up to the heart monitor in the NICU and I knew he was mine.
Forever. I didn’t know how, because with fostering there is never a real KNOWING until the papers are signed by a judge, but I knew.
Those eyes. Tiny slits, swollen eyelids over the deepest brown I’d ever seen. Puddles that just swallowed me up in the weeks and months and years that followed.
The boy literally captured our hearts, all 6 of us at once. Then, tiny, quiet but inquisitive. This boy who was so attached to the sling that he lived in for 18 months that he would pull it into his crib, climb inside of it and use it as a blankie after it was too fragile and worn for me to carry him in any more.
No language besides a sign vocabulary of around 20 words, but so many attentive siblings made life easy for him. Oh the ache. That boy.
“OM”, he called me, when he did finally get words. “Om! Um ‘ere!” (Mom! Come here!) Not perfect. Not very understandable, but to me it was music. When your son’s first word comes at the age of 3, and it’s your name, you’ll take it. I was Om.
14 years later and he still melts my heart. Still makes his siblings grin and sigh. So special, with so many caring about him and he probably doesn’t even realize the effect he has on people around him. If it’s possible to care about someone so much that it hurts, then I’m there.