I recently cleaned up the shelves in our library and all the baby books were taken down and dusted. Each son has their own photo album, baby book and keepsake box. I thought about Ben's books and how being the first child, every single moment was honored with a snapshot.
My meandering mind went to the dark place I keep hidden in the deepest recesses of my mind. Ryan and I will not be around for Ben one day. It saddens and scares me. I know he has Logan and Sean, but it will be different. As parents, we have a level of love and understanding of Ben that no one can come close to emulating. With us gone, Ben would be in the care of other people - strangers - people we do not know, people we have not vetted.
My one solace was knowing how Ben's albums would show these strangers that he came from a loving family who cared about him. They would see a sweet boy smiling, surrounded by family and friends. I rationalized that this would influence their care and love for the adult Ben. Then I pushed these dark thoughts back into place, knowing I have to keep them away. The best use of my energy, emotions and time is on the present, building a strong foundation for Ben so when change comes, there will be something good in place for him.
The very next day while waiting on line in Walmart, an older woman was ahead of me waiting to purchase an umbrella. She had special needs. Another woman ahead of her in line, commented on the umbrella being a very pretty color. The kindness in the comment, as well as the delivery, made me pay attention. As I continued to observe these two women interact, I realized that they were together, most likely it was a direct service provider with her client.
All the emotion from the other night flooded back and my eyes started to water. Instead of the woman in the puffy pink jacket, I imagined Ben in forty years, happy, out and about with someone who cares and respects him, not the so-called stranger I had in mind.
Needing to mark this moment, I spoke to the caregiver. With teary eyes and emotions flying around me, I am not sure what I said, but she understood me. I am sure I thanked her for her commitment and dedication to her chosen profession and specifically for the tenderness she displayed to her client.
Worry about Ben's very far away future (I don't plan on going anytime soon) will never go away. It will gnaw at me, rare its ugly head and even bring me down once in awhile, but my job is to keep snapping those photos of a happy person, living his life with love and friendship.