This phrase has been on my mind a lot lately. Since around Halloween, actually. I loved getting Vivian dressed up in her costume, but it was bittersweet. I took her out in her stroller, just around our cul-de-sac. At the second house, I had to hold back tears while telling them “she would say trick-or-treat if she could.” Maybe next year, I thought. I did think it was pretty cute she tried to give the candy back, possibly because she was just mastering the put in/out skill. Almost a week later came her birthday. We had a small dinner with close friends and family. At least this year she was able to open up her presents, although she doesn’t understand what her birthday is. She clapped when everyone sang her “happy birthday”, but I had to blow out her candle and she didn’t want anything to do with her cupcake. Maybe next year she’ll understand what her birthday party is for.
Then there was Christmas season. We went to my husband’s company party, which is held at a bowling alley. I recall thinking last year that it will be so much fun this year, when we will be able to bowl with her. Not quite. Again this year, she crawled all over the place, only sitting still to watch a movie and eat. Bowling? Maybe next year. Our next big day was Christmas Eve. We went to our neighbor’s house and ate appetizers, opened gifts and had a nice time. As we were leaving, the other kids started making reindeer food. A little while later, while putting her PJ’s on, the tears started. I had really thought this Christmas was going to be different. Dave asked me what was wrong and I answered “she should be making #$!#@^& reindeer food.” Maybe next year. I will admit that I cried myself to sleep Christmas Eve. I kept thinking how few Christmas’ we are going to have with her having a true understanding of Christmas. Then I would get upset with myself, thinking how selfish I was. At least I would wake up in the morning with a happy, healthy little girl and get to enjoy the day with her. Many others won’t get that with their child. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband that assured me that although she couldn’t make reindeer food, she is extremely happy, loves Toy Story and has a lot of people that love and care about her. He held me that night and let me cry. He also agreed, maybe next year.
Christmas day was much better for me. It was nice and quiet and I enjoyed spending time with our family. As I reflect on this past year, the one word that comes to mind is pride. I am proud of all the accomplishments Vivian, Dave and I have made this year. Vivian truly has come a long way this year, sometimes it’s just hard to see when it’s right in front of you every day. I have read that around ages 3-4, children with incomplete myelination make a turn for the better. I pray and pray that this holds true to Vivian. Only time will tell, but I hope that this year there won’t be quite as many “maybe next year” moments.