This is the time of year when we celebrate graduations and promotions to the upcoming grades and or phase of life. As some celebrate this new chapter in their children’s lives, other families struggle with that next chapter of life. As I sat through my son’s end of the school year show, I cannot help but look around at a room full of people who share the same thoughts, concerns, fears, and life lessons that life itself has thrown at us. As I observed everyone’s actions and/or reactions, I could see so many emotions evolving. I would like to share a little bit of those feelings; I can say there wasn’t a moment when you didn’t see tears of joy, happiness, fear, uncertainty, relief, and a sense of the unknown. But I would have to say the most tears came towards the conclusion of presentation. They were honoring the seniors for accomplishing one of many hurdles they have had to face; a feat parents possibly thought they would never witness, but they did!
What a lesson it is to be able to witness success and know that they worked hard for it. Before they began calling out the names of the soon to be graduates, they showed a presentation of the graduates’ pictures as babies, then kids, and now as seniors. I have to say my heart ached as I saw those pictures go by. You may ask why? Well, I can honestly tell you that I could see my Adrian as the baby pictures went by. I noticed how they looked like neuro-typical children and then we were faced with the word “autism.” I remember so vividly the day when he was diagnosed with “autism” and when I was no longer part of “his world.” I had to learn how to be part of his world all over again. I felt like I lost the emotional connection I had with my little boy. I felt so helpless when that word became part of our lives, but I knew that I needed to get into his world never knowing the lessons I was going to learn by looking through his eyes. Even though we are not where I would like to be, it is closer than it was 4 and half years ago, and I have to say we have a special bond. My expectations for him remain the same but with room for trial and error. So as I sat there and saw the pictures, I could relate to the moms in that room today.
A quick note to my fellow moms:
Our days may seem long and with no end in sight, and we may wonder if there is light on this dark road. Our days are cluttered with therapies, doctor’s appointments, meltdowns, picky eaters and possibly a full time job. But I am here to tell you that you are not alone. It takes a special parent to have a special needs child. I have always believed that. Believe it or not, I never saw myself as a special parent. Just know that you are special, and you are the perfect parent for your special child. So when the day seems like it is too much to bear, look ahead. There is light, we just have to walk forward together.
And finally to our Adrian:
My sweet boy!
From the first day you were placed in our arms, we knew we loved you with all of our hearts. You will never know how much you have taught me in your almost 7 years of your life. You have given me life lessons that I would have never imagined, and yet I wonder if I am even doing things right. I wonder if I am half the mom that you need me to be. Then I look to God and ask him to guide me in walking with you into his path. I want you to know that I am so proud of you, and I always will because I know that you will make a difference in people’s lives. You are a special little boy who, with a smile, can win the heart of many. Our prayer for you is to reach for the stars and fly. Stretch your wings my son because you will go farther than you will ever know. We love you.