Today is a momentous day in the Watson household. On this very day, the youngest member of our family, Sean David Watson, turns ten years old. We will have a grand celebration for the ages at none other than Chuck E. Cheese’s. Sean will hop from game to game like a jumping bean and we will follow him around until he gets tired. Then he will feast on pizza and milk until he gains his second wind. Some time later, he will decide that he has grown weary of Chuck E. Cheese’s and its denizens. We will thus repair to the car, where he will fall asleep and dream dreams of giant singing rats and skill cranes.
It’s hard to believe that ten years have gone by. I remember the first time I ever held him. I remember holding our older son Luke’s hand in the neonatal ward of the hospital as we marveled at his little brother. I remember the pediatrician telling me that Sean had Down syndrome, and the bottom falling out from under me. I remember telling my wife, calling my parents, and trying to explain to Luke, who was four, what had happened.
I remember learning that he had a heart defect, as is common with kids with Down syndrome. He couldn’t gain weight, and we tried to fatten him up a bit with a formula that I called “liquid gold” because it was so expensive. It didn’t work. He couldn’t keep it down. I remember handing him over to a heart surgeon at four months of age. He weighed ten pounds.
I remember how good to us our friends and family were. Our church family supported us. The seminary community gathered around us. People made us meals and came to see us. They sent us cards and called us and encouraged us. My parents drove up from Texas to help us after Sean was born and during his surgery. Those first months were hard, but we were held up by the community of faith.
I remember when he first laughed, as his grandfather was rocking him. I remember him learning to stand, and then walk, and then run, and then to wreak havoc on all that stood in his path. I remember his brother giving him the nickname “Beetle,” and although the origin of this moniker is yet a mystery, it has had some staying power through the years. There are some things that only older brothers can do.
As Sean has gotten older, it has become clear that he has a penchant for mischief. On one occasion, he dropped my iPhone in a glass of water. Make no mistake: this was an intentional act of rebellion. I suppose I should have taken that as a sign that I was using my phone too much. Fortunately for me it survived. On another occasion, he placed my glasses in the fireplace, and, yes, there was fire burning at the time. Alas, they did not survive, but thanks be to God, I had become wise enough by that point in my life to have purchased the insurance, or, as I like to call it, the “Sean plan.” Once when we were visiting friends, he took a silver duck he found in their house and dropped it down the ash chute behind the fireplace. It did take some doing on their part to locate said duck after the fact. Why did he do this? What else would one do with a silver duck?
5 thoughts on “Ten Years with Sean”
happy birthday Sean, enjoy Chuck E.Cheese,
Thank you David. Sean is a gift to the world from God himself. I would love to meet Sean someday and experience his smile and his love. I can tell your family has been truly blessed. Sounds like Luke is pretty awesome too.
Thank you for telling Sean’s story. We have been blessed and challenged since adopting our son, 26 years ago, who is living with autism.
Reblogged this on Scott Knowlton's Blog and commented:
A beautiful birthday tribute for one of God’s masterpieces. David Watson was my New Testament professor at United.
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