Four years ago tonight, Diana and I were sitting in the Coho Cafe in Issaquah, Washington, facing the very real condition that we were going to be parents in a little more than 12 hours.
The day of Simon's birth was such a sleep-deprived birth, which is one of the reasons I wrote it down as fast as possible. In the four years since, being his parents has been easier and harder at the same time.
As with any aspect of your life, it's easy to get bogged down in being a parent. In recent months, we finally got the formal information around Simon's diagnosis for Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Neither problem is for sure necessarily a long-term detriment, but it definitely adds extra layers of complexity to helping him develop.
That said, the difficulty does not outweigh the joy that Simon brings on most days. I love the way this kid loves to be outside and moving (a "symptom" of SPD, actually). Being in Florida has been good to a boy who preferred to walk as soon as he could, and he hasn't seen a stroller in more than a year. He has no problem dragging his Grammy around Disney World, walking more than 8 miles in a day.
Simon's sense of discovery is developing as fast as his language skills. Right now he wants to describe everything he encounters no matter how mundane it might be, even if he doesn't have all of the words. The biggest leap he has made in the last year, and really just the last few months, is his transformation into a conversationalist. He wants to talk to anyone who will listen and converse.
And what comes with conversation? Personality. Simon is loaded with personality. He loves to giggle over all kinds of things, and he's developing his own catch phrases, like, "What's going on here?" and, "That's OK, Dad." The best part though is that when he's sleepy and happy, he's quite the cuddle monkey. It's another thing that he didn't do as much in his early years, but now he'll be perfectly happy to crash with you in the beanbag chair or spread out on the couch under a blanket with you.
More than anything, it's his capacity to love that makes him a great contributor to the world. There's nothing more awesome than meeting up with him somewhere, and he runs with excitement to greet you. And it's not just family, but even new people he meets, especially kids. While he certainly has more than his share of defiant moments, he's also quite the warm soul.
And as of tomorrow, Simon is 25% of the way toward driving age. Yikes.