When my son was born, my life began to follow a very different path; some developmental milestones were met late, some never at all. While parents of neuro-typical children watch them grow, learn, make friends, attend school, and pursue an independent life, I have not. My son will not follow that path – ever. He may someday have a job, but it will most likely be voluntary or minimal hours, paying below minimum wage and probably with a job coach. He won’t call to tell me that he got a promotion, only to say that he did not burn the chocolate chip cookies he was instructed to bake and NOT eat. He will be disabled; while his body will age physically, his mind and emotions will max out at around 15 years old: a teenager for the rest of his life.
I used to be angry at God and doctors for handing me this child, this burden. I went through counseling, grief classes, support groups, reaching out and trying to understand how to cope, how to deal with this life sentence. I sincerely believe that God DOES give some us more than we can handle. But I also believe that God forgives us for our imperfections and gives us the ability to forgive others and ourselves for not being perfect. He bestowed these abilities on me through my son.
One of the gifts my son has given to me is just that: forgiveness. He forgives me for not being the perfect mother. He forgives me for being disappointed. He forgives me for not wanting to deal with his disability at times. He forgives me for not loving myself enough so I may love him freely for who he is, a child who was simply made differently. He loves me as his mom and I truly love him as my son. He has taught me to laugh at myself, to let go of things that do not matter and to understand that I can repair doors and walls that he has kicked in moments of anxiety. I can replace material items, such as countless CD players and VCR’s, that he has worn out before their time. However, he has also taught me that I cannot replace his heart and HIS joy being with the people who care for him and care about him.
He asks for so little and forgives so easily; something most people strive for on a daily basis. I am overjoyed that he has taught me to know and understand him, and to meet life with him each day as it is put before me – no more, no less.