Grady Lee is one in a million. He has a mind that loves to learn, a body that likes to move, a curiosity that doesn't rest, and a tender heart that wants to please.
But with that love of learning comes the challenge to stay focused and occupied. And with that always-moving body comes the challenge of developing self-control and respecting personal space. And with that curiosity comes the challenge of frustration and disappointment when answers don't come quick. And with that tender heart comes the challenge to choose respect and obedience even when it hurts.
Grady Lee is all boy with intense energy and an easily excitable spirit. He works hard, plays hard, eats hard (I never knew this was possible until watching him), and sleeps hard. I can count on one hand the times I've seen him do anything halfheartedly.
As his mom I can bore you to tears with accolades and praises for why I love him and why I'm proud of him. As his mom I can also assure you that he has tested my limits, humbled my heart, and broken my pride.
With each passing year, we've tackled new issues and celebrated new victories. And in spite of his many personality quirks, sensory processing issues, and behavioral and attention-related nuances, I love this kid with all my heart and then some. If I could go back five and a half years to the first time I held his tiny body, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, there are lessons piled upon lessons piled upon lessons that I've learned over these years, but I'm a better mom, better wife, better friend, better teacher, better servant, and better daughter to the King because of these years.
This little man has grown me to a deeper faith with purer prayers and higher hopes than I would have ever experienced without him. This is the beauty of being his mom and this is the heartache of being his mom. The more I learn about Grady Lee and his emotional and behavioral and physical intricacies the more I'm reminded of my great God who formed him and chose me to be his mom and who loved Grady Lee enough to offer him heavenly eternity.
As much as it can hurt my heart as a mom to see him struggle socially, it's always been my prayer that he would choose to know, love, and serve Jesus - at all costs - and that if friends and peer acceptance happened it would be a byproduct of first following Jesus. Guess what? His social awkwardness doesn't inhibit him from stating obvious truth about Jesus and right and wrong. I pray for him to develop meaningful friendships, but mostly I pray that he develops an appetite to love people regardless of how they do or don't love him.
So here we are, mom and son, five and a half years later. Sometimes in the routine of life, it's hard to step outside of myself and see the things he and I are accomplishing together and to celebrate the small ways God is blessing and encouraging us. I know that's true for a lot of you, too. As moms we get focused on the immediate need and develop tunnel vision for today only. I want to share the following small things Grady Lee and I have stopped to celebrate in just these past couple of weeks. I hope it encourages you because remember, we celebrate the small things and keep on anticipating the big things. Baby steps slowly accumulate and soon you've covered miles.
We work hard each week on his speech, sensory, and behavioral therapies. And although it's hard to see in the day-to-day, I'm confident he's making strides in the right direction. Small celebration number one.
Grady Lee is hands-down a rough, tough, active, and energetic little man. But he's also unnecessarily cautious and apprehensive about new things, especially when it involves sensory input that he can't control. Just the other day, he finally figured out the right balance for riding his bike without training wheels. Small celebration number two.
Grady Lee completed swimming lessons and I couldn't be more proud. He listened intently. He obeyed immediately. He tried wholeheartedly. Small celebration number three.
Look at that, Grady Lee! Five small reasons to celebrate and five big reasons to tell Jesus thank you for answering our prayers. We're making progress, Buddy, we really are. It's my job to see these baby steps and remember to celebrate them. You need to know that forever and always I love you and am proud of you. I anticipate big things for you because I know God has created you for big things. He didn't put you on this planet and in this family for meeting the socially accepted status-quo. He put you here to know, love, and serve Him so that through your life you can make Him famous.
I love you, Grady Lee, with all my heart and then some.