Bennett: I’m very fond of Avery. (This is Bennett’s new favorite expression. He’s very fond of many things–Bailey and applesauce with cinnamon sugar on top and Scooby-Doo and leaves, raked into a pile, for jumping in.)
Me: I’m very fond of Avery, too.
Bennett: He doesn’t have words like these.
Me: It’s true. Avery doesn’t have as many words as you do.
Bennett: But he talks in sign language, like this. (He signs thank you and thirsty and sorry and book. Then he signs baby, because we all love that one.)
There was a time when a conversation like this might have made me sad. Because, in this conversation, it’s revealed that Avery’s differences are so clear, so much a part of him, they’re even apparant to a five-year-old.
But this exchange didn’t make me feel blue. Instead, it made me feel good, because it meant that Avery’s brothers are able to talk about him, and their perceptions of life with him, without fear or worry. I sometimes envy my kids, because they are growing up with an early understanding that difference isn’t bad, or good, but simply different. And their world is richer for it.
As is mine.
I am better for knowing all of you. (I’m very fond of you!)
I am better for risking my heart.
I am better for loving Avery.
I hold in one hand hand all the good that has come into our lives with Avery’s birth; in the other, all the hard things. Which hand is heavier, which one means more? I don’t have an answer. Everything is connected, there is no one without the other. All I know is that my hands are full, and this fullness feels like life.