A Letter To My First-Born Son

Taylor Leal

Taylor Leal

Never would I have predicted all of the ways you were going to deepen my faith in just three short years. We have been through a lot together, you and me.

Before I became your mom, so many people prepared me for the resilience you would have, the strength you would teach me, and the patience I would grow to understand.

But really, no one truly prepared me for the journey of being a parent. Sure, there are books. Yes, there are podcasts. Of course, I endured the unsolicited advice from a relative that I filed away in my mind as “never in a thousand years will I do that.” Still, nothing prepared me for the day that you entered the world.

I remember June 10, 2017 so well. It was a Sunday morning in Traverse City, a smooth delivery, and we welcomed you, Jaxon Joseph, into the world. In that moment, our world was forever changed. We were on the parenting path. New, but full of energy.

Jax, you have been through a lot in three years. When you were three months old, we learned that you had a hemangioma on your lip. The doctors sent us to the oncology and hematology floor at children’s hospital, and I’ve never prayed so much in my life. I’ve walked with Jesus years before I met you, but what the three of us were going through together created an intimacy with Jesus. I have you to thank for that.

Challenging and growing my faith didn’t stop there. From the minute you were born, there were markers to hit. We knew not to bank on what everyone says that you should be doing, but it was hard not to compare you to others.

At 18 months, with lots of wisdom and prayers, we met with specialists to understand if there were concerns with your development. Very early on we learned that you had a Global Developmental Delay and were slow to hit milestones. Slow to roll over, slow to crawl, slow to walk, and not talking.

For months I blamed myself. What did I eat while being pregnant? Did I not do tummy time enough? Do they have 1-year old preschool that I didn’t know about? Fish oil? Why didn’t anyone tell me about those vitamins?

Jaxon, you are 3 years old now. You are a big brother who is still learning the fine line of a hug and crushing your sister. You are full of energy. You have a BIG personality. You are full of love and passion. Your smile and laugh are contagious. You are a trickster. Your character is developing more and more every day. You comprehend so, so much. But even though you are growing and changing every day, I still find myself comparing and wondering why you aren’t hitting your appropriate milestones. Why can’t you talk?

We have seen many doctors, had genetic testing done, an MRI completed, we work weekly with therapists both in the office and in our home. We have taken every meeting with any doctor that could maybe shed some light on what is happening. And every twist and turn has brought us the very real fear that you, buddy, may never speak words. We know that is a real possibility.

I long for the day to hear you say, “I love you.” But I also know there is a chance I may never hear it. I hold onto hope that Jesus is still writing your story and this chapter we are in isn’t over just yet.

The writer Jeremiah pens the words in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

I read that and I am reminded, God, the creator of the world, knew this path before I even took a step on it. He formed you, Jaxon. He knows you. He knows your thoughts, He sees your smile…He made those things. He is proud of who you are. And even on the hard days….the days of comparison. The days of jealousy. The days I am just too exhausted to teach and help you, I hold tightly the words of Jeremiah. That you were set apart to do something great. On the days where this path we are walking in seems winding and scary, I have to believe that the One who created the path is walking with our family.

I love you Jaxon Jo,

Your Mama

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