Before I knew it, my son was a year old. He was supposed to be doing all of these things. Hitting developmental milestones. He wasn’t.
He’s been in my life for five years.
It was love at first sight. In the beginning, he was perfect. So attentive. All he wanted to do was to lie around in bed with me.
As the weeks ticked by, I wanted him to meet my parents, meet my friends. He was reluctant. Why? He would question, peering at me through his beautiful lashes. It’s time, I told him.
When they met, he was shy. He didn’t know how to act. It had just been me and him for so much of the time. He didn’t respond when they smiled at him. He didn’t laugh when they told him a story.
And, then before I knew it, my son was a year old. He was supposed to be pointing at objects, articulating a few words, and clapping his hands when his grandparents came to visit. He wasn’t. In addition to the speech delay, it boiled down to personality. He was unsure; he wanted my attention; he didn’t like change.
Hmmm. That’s not so different than a million other men, I’d thought. Once we got started with the speech therapy, I decided to tackle the rest. I could teach him how to behave socially. How to interact with adults and peers even if he didn’t intuitively know how. Besides, I had done the same with his father.
I told myself that I needed time. To be patient. They don’t require children to attend kindergarten until they’re five-years-old for a reason. Right?
So I’m not surprised that it took me five years to mold him into a tolerable, functioning member of his peer group. It took me at least five years to train his dad into the same.
For all of you that have husbands that were perfect from the moment you met him, you won’t understand. You won’t understand the patience that it takes to cultivate a man like a garden.
When I met my husband, he was the proverbial diamond in the rough – an international graduate student studying engineering. When you look up socially awkward in the urban dictionary, I’m pretty sure that a photo of his office mate at the time pops up. I had my work cut out for me. But, he had potential, the long eyelashes, and an adorable accent.
Five years later, we all get invited to parties regularly. Five years later, the toilet seat is put down. My son is potty-trained too. Five years later, both of them have learned how to talk to my parents and their peers.
Thankfully, this time around I have another female to help me with my good-man project while Daddy’s at work: my daughter.