Sunday, 13 March 2016

When Your Child Is Special

While I am a special needs mom, that's not what I mean today.

I am talking about how special my Nate is- what an amazing little individual I have in my life.  I was sitting with him today out at lunch after a particularly successful haircut and I just had to stop myself for a minute and stare.  He is so gorgeous.  Sometimes it feels like every single thing he does has just a little magic involved 

He is just a perfect little soul.

There is an element of this feeling of awe that DOES involve autism.  I am not one of those parents who counts autism as a blessing.  But it did give me a gift.  It gave me the gift of seeing my son "return" to me.  With the absolute devastation that came when he stopped talking to us, stopped looking at us, started banging his head against the walls, came the complete joy of seeing him respond to his name, attempt to say words, jump on his exercise ball rather than engaging in self harm..

Sometimes it really does take losing something to understand just how precious it is.  Jack was an "early talker".  I can still remember a mom in our play group looking at me completely deadpan and saying, "did your 15 month old just say vacuum???  excuse me while I go shoot myself in the head!"  (she's probably cracking up right now).  I was a first time mom, I completely took Jack's speech for granted- I had no idea just how amazing it was.  Honestly, I would've been happy if he would've simmered down for a minute- pretty much all the time.

And Nate started out slower, but developmentally appropriate.  He was still on track when he received his vaccines in June at about 16 months.  I am not trying to blame vaccines, but it was at that visit that he received a standard developmental screening- he was pointing, he had enough words, he was playing with toys.  And then he wasn't.  I guess you can take that however you want.

When your child, who is supposed to be exploding with new developments, loses the skills he has and checks out- there just isn't even a word that encompasses those feelings.  Terror- maybe.  But grief is in that mix, so I guess not.  Let's just say it's life altering.

Anyway, I don't want to relive all of that, but it's kind of crucial to the story.  In regaining skills, starting to explore his world, interacting with those around him, Nate has become my own little personal daily miracle.  Every single thing he does amazes me- and I can read him like very few moms can read their kids.  Because we had to do it without words for YEARS.  It was actually a huge challenge when he started ABA, me withholding things and waiting for the word, because I could literally always see in his eyes what he wanted and needed.  We had developed our own system, and I would have to say I was the only one who could read him like this.

I am starting to be able to share that with others, because he can now go into school and communicate his needs- generally only the very basic ones, but it's such a step up...apparently last week at school, he went to the bathroom while in gym and walked down the hall announcing to everyone "I pee, I pee."  Seeing this little personality that I have always known was there emerge and be noticeable to those around him is just thrilling.  

He has spunk, he has a little attitude, and I'm convinced that his sense of humor is just as sarcastic as his mama's.  The amount of eye rolling that goes on in this house is just hilarious.  His curiousity is starting to really emerge- he will literally move my mouth just to see me talk and watch how I form my words- this is so cool to see...

He is starting to "joke".  He finds himself (and his ability to make others do things) hilarious.  He is beyond loved everywhere he goes- he has his therapists, teachers, and family wrapped around his little finger.

In short, this little boy is my hero.  I am so proud of how far he has come, and I am so hopeful about where he is headed.  I could not have said any of that two years ago.  I was too absorbed in my own grief to realize how many wonderful moments were headed my way.  I am learning, through this child to appreciate the little moments in a way I never understood before.  I have learned that every single step for him is huge, and that he can go way further than I had realized...

I LOVE this boy!!!!  He brightens every single day of my life.  

1 comment:

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