You, my friends and family, will know Colton is my very special grandson, born very premature at 23 weeks 6 days gestation and 1 pound and 4 ounces. Colton was in the NICU at UK for 172 days before he ever got to come home. God spared Colton’s life for reasons, known and unknown to us, his family who know he has a very special purpose on this earth. Colton is definitely one of God’s angels on earth. His specific purposes are many I am sure. His life’s main purpose will unfold before all of our eyes as he grows up.
Colton faces life with limited-vision. I hesitate to use the word blind because each day he has been at my house in the last 6 days he “looks” all around as if he is scoping out the place! At his house, I did not notice him “looking” around and said to Crystal, “his eyes are not any better yet are they?” She answered, “No, but we do have appointments in Detroit coming up.”
Colton faces more challenges. He officially turned 3 years old on his actual birthday, November 25, not walking and speaking only a few words. Colton’s ‘corrected’ birthday, March 17, is 6 months later, the day he finally came home from the hospital. The correction allows for the difference in premature babies and the time difference from an ‘on-time’ birth. The fact is though that not many babies make it as early as Colton was born. We were told and knew he would have a variety of problems. We have all watched while loving Colton every step of his path. Colton listens intently and Colton learns. His progress has always kept us upbeat.
For me personally, life has had a different tone since Colton’s birth. I have always been prayerful, but with Colton’s birth came a constant prayer vigil within my heart. Since Colton’s arrival home, my heart has been thankful and full of joy for Colton was the happiest baby I had ever been around. Most recently, for the last 2 – 3 months, a completely different tone has surrounded our lives because Colton has been severely ill. Taking Colton to the ER or to the doctor gained no new knowledge but the poor thing was so distraught that he was hitting his head against anything or anyone he could. He would hit himself in the face, as if to say, please help me.
Being in Florida was a double-edged sword for me. I was needed in both places but Colton mostly needed his mommy and daddy these last two months and my mom and Pawpaw definitely needed me there as you know from reading my Snowbird Diary. Colton’s road of illness these last months was a long hard road that finally ended at the UK Emergency Room and hospital visit where they took him off his medications for his stiff legs. Gradually, he got better and, finally, they learned the cause of his distraught temperament. Colton’s withdrawl from the medication was as hard as the ill-effect of the meds. It seems he is getting back unto himself except that he has regressed.
Colton’s regressions are in every area of his development, his walking, talking, signing, everything. To explain my inner pain, hurt and turmoil is very difficult BUT I am so happy to be home and hug my Colton again. I am so happy to be here where I can help Colton come back unto himself and regain the skills he has lost. I would have experienced pain whether I was here or there. The pain of a mother and a grandmother is difficult for others to understand, unless they too have had similar experiences as mothers and grandmothers. Pain pierces my heart when Colton is in pain just as when his father, my only birth child, had pain. It has always been that way and no matter what age either of them reach in my lifetime, my pain will mirror theirs and will feel double, or triple theirs.
Since I have returned home from Florida and my Snowbird Alzheimers Caregiving Days, my son Seth has made sure that I have gotten to see this very special grandson, Colton, almost every day. My first day back was last Wednesday and we went to their house. My heart broke as I watched Colton receive gifts from me with my voice reading a book and teddy bear singing a lullaby. He frowned and was sad. He had not seen his Gigi in two months and we all know he wondered where I went. His frown turned into smiles when I spoke and touched his hand. His Gigi was back. I held him and played with him for a couple of hours before it was his bedtime. Our visit broke the ice of the long silence and distance between us. His smile warmed my heart but his frown laid on my soul and gave me a deep need to bring our closeness back.
Over the weekend Seth and Crystal brought Colton here to our house. Colton has not been here since his birthday weekend in November when his Aunt Cindy and cousins were here too. He ‘looked’ all around. He felt the rug knowing he knew its feel but that it has been along time. He reached for me and I was always there. He rocked on his three-wheeler rocker and said, ‘rock’. Baby steps started again but smiles on his face warmed my heart.
Tonight Seth and Crystal brought Colton to me so they could go to a movie. With a late arrival, I only had was a short time to feed him supper, bathe him and get him ready for bed. He wanted to play so we did a couple of 10 minute play times, a 10 minute book reading but then it was off to his house, his bed and bed time.
Colton did not want to go to bed. He was too excited to be with Gigi and GDaddy but he was also tired; he knew it and we knew it. Our solution to calm him was to sing. Dennis and I sing fairly well together and Colton loves to hear either or both of us sing. It does not have to be ‘good’ for him to like to hear singing! We sang bible school like ‘Noah Built an Ark’, ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, and praise songs like ‘God is Good’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘Holy Spirit Come and Fill This Place’.
As we sang I laid next to Colton and at first held him down to keep him from getting out of his bed. The song “Jesus” was later in the sting of songs we sang and while we sang, COLTON said “JESUS” just as PLAIN AS DAY! And then I said, “Yes, Colton Jesus.” Dennis and I both heard him and we knew the Holy Spirit had really filled little Colton’s room. He was calm, quiet, resting, and touching my face. All evening Colton had barely spoken a word and had signed nothing. Tonight he spoke “Jesus”! Praise the Lord!
We continued to sing and he calmed down more and more. I touched his face gently and he touched mine. Every once in a while I would, say, “Gigi is right here with you, sssshhhhh now.”
As we sang, Colton said “G” several times. Again I would whisper in his ear, “Yes, Colton, Gigi is here now.” And then, for the first time ever Dennis and I both heard him say “Gigi”, both syllables, as plain as day. As we sang he actually said “Gigi” multiple times.
Tonight my heart is full, I have a smile on my face, Colton’s sweetest little voice on earth, that has been saying very few words in months, said “Gigi” plainly Welcoming Me Home from Florida and back into his heart and his world.
I am happy to be home.