Those weren’t words that I was thinking about when I saw my son for the first time on the ultrasound screen. Heart, brain, fingers, toes; all were there and everything looked as it should.
No one can ever really prepare for parenthood. Not really. But I wasn’t prepared for what life would be like with a special-needs child.
The evaluations. The therapists. IEPs. Blood draws. Diagnoses. The paperwork (holy cow, the paperwork).
I wasn’t ready. But I’m learning.
Some days I can handle everything. And some days I let Daniel Tiger third-parent my children so I can have a few minutes to collect myself in another room.
At the end of the days that feel insurmountable, like I’m failing my child, that I just don’t know what to do, I stop. I make myself stop and think about all the sweet things, the blessings, in our lives that we wouldn’t have if my son wasn’t special needs.
Sweet are the People.
Sweet are the teachers and therapists who have been a part of our lives over the past 2.5 years. These people have been the sweetest, most caring, most genuine, most patient people I have ever met. They work really hard with our son and on behalf of
our son. The world needs more people like them.
Sweet are the strangers, who, whether or not they recognize that I have a special-needs child, lend a helping hand, a kind word, or just a simple smile. There have been many days that a kind stranger was the difference between a good day and a bad day. Kind strangers always restore my faith in humanity.
Sweet is finding mom friends who don’t scare easily. It’s also being able to let go of the ones that do.
Sweet is the Growth.
Sweet is finding a strength in my partnership with my husband that we may have never found without special needs. We realize that we can take on a lot, as long as we do it together.
Sweet is looking back on my photos from a year ago. I remember what life was like then, and realize just how far our son has come. It’s easy to forget sometimes when there is so much to think about, but I try to never forget his progress.
Sweet is our son’s preschool teacher, who takes the time to call us to let us know that our son met a goal that we set for him. She shares in our excitement.
Sweet is my son achieving the seemingly small milestones that are actually a BIG deal to us. There has never been a celebration in our house as grand as the day that our son happily and calmly sat through a haircut.
Sweet is My Son.
Sweet is watching our daughter, who has a soul much older than her 18 months, interact with my son. She knows how to cheer him up on his bad days. Our son lets her into his life in a way that he doesn’t with anyone else. These two are going to be fierce friends and will always have each other’s backs. I can feel it.
Sweet are all the people in our lives who have taken the time to really get to know our son. These people have supported all of us through the good times and the tough times.
The ultimate sweetness is my son himself. This kid has an enormous heart, has had impeccable comedic timing since he was two, and has a wicked memory. He LOVES life and has a laugh that instantly puts me in a better mood. He sees the world differently and thinks about the world differently. I love that I get to be his mom. He will change this world for the better; it’s just going to be on his own terms.