When I was young, I had my ideal life all picked out. I think a lot of us do that don't we? I was going to be a doctor or a singer, I was going to have a lot of kids and a husband who doted on me and never ever said an unkind word to me or made me feel bad as I thought was the norm in relationships. My children would be perfect angels with good grades, wonderful manners and sky high IQ's and the personalities to match.
Enter real life.
I'm now in my 40's. I have six much loved children, am working on my third marriage; finally with that man who dotes on me and am a stay at home mom. Now ask me if I mind. But really... who plans for this?
It never fails to amaze me how someone somewhere knows much better than us what we need in life.
One of my kids is my 14 year old son Jordan. He is a sweet sweet boy. He is also mentally and emotionally disabled with an IQ of about 75, high functioning Autistic, Bi-Polar, OCD, ADHD and periodically Schizophrenic with some violent tendencies . Who plans for this?
When you are young, you pick out your future children's names and can mentally picture every aspect of their personalities and lives. Jordan was going to be a doctor. He was going to be six feet tall, was going to adore his mother and was going to be my bright and shining fourth child. He was the hope for my second marriage, the reason to stay.
Well, he is well on his way to six feet tall lol. He also adores his mother to the point of not being able to have me leave his sight without a meltdown and while he will never be a doctor, he has spent plenty of time around them in his short life. Be careful what you wish for huh? Who plans for this?
I don't think any parent can ever be fully prepared for raising a special needs child. There are no classes to take to tell you how to breathe when your son pours strawberry yogurt all over the cats. There is no book to read to teach you how to handle it when your sweet tempered child gets suspended from school for the 4th time because he gets violent in an attempt to get sent home to be with mommy. There is no online class to take to help you adjust to the fears and the nights of shed tears because you worry how your child will survive should you die. You become paranoid about your own mortality. I feel like I need to live to be 135 just so that I can be there to take care of him because if I don't, what will happen to him?? Who will love him like I can? Who will make sure he takes his medicine and doesn't run out into the road and doesn't think that every stranger is a new friend? Who plans for this?
By the same token, when raising a special needs child, you learn so much from them. I am never allowed to forget how wonderful it can be to sit and watch Tom & Jerry chase each other around the TV screen. Nor will I ever take hugs for granted. For many years, my boy didn't like to touch or be touched. I am learning that every new milestone is a gift, every learned task is a blessing. When I see him cuddle his five month old brother and ask me "mommy, am I a good big brother?" I can honestly say that yes he is. He may be a little too loving at times for a baby to handle but he is never aloof, never distant, never the teen boy who wants nothing to do with the baby. Someday my baby will outgrow the brother who is 14 years older than him. But until then, my biological youngest will have a big brother who will always play hide and seek, who will always be willing to get down in the dirt with him and push around matchbox cars. Who plans for this?
From Jordan, I have learned what unconditional love is. His is the purest love I have ever received. Even on days when I am impatient and harried, he still loves me and thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. Nobody else in the world looks at me and says "mommy, you need to relax more! You work too hard! Let me bring you a blankie and a glass of milk." Of course I don't drink milk but that's not the point lol. I have learned to GIVE love in ways I never thought possible either. When you have kids, it is with the tacit understanding that they are on loan to you, that one day they will grow up and move away and your relationship with them will change and deepen. Not with Jordan. he will always be my little boy. In that, he has taught me to be more unselfish, more giving than I ever thought I was capable of.
Really... who plans for this??