Last night, Jordan came to the realization, at the age of fifteen, that he is "different". There is little more heartbreaking for the parent of a special needs child than to see his face as he says, "Mom, I just want to DIE. I don't fit in anywhere and I'm different from everybody else.I want to be dead."
I wish he had stayed oblivious to his differences. I wish he knew that he DOES fit in; with us, his family and those others who care about him. But I know that at fifteen, for even the "normal" teen, that isn't enough, so how can that be enough for a child who struggles for every that we take for granted? Things like counting out change, buying a meal at McDonald's, walking into a crowded room, having a girlfriend.... hell, having a FRIEND, are things that he strives for on a daily basis. We however, think nothing of most of the above. We may periodically feel grateful for the abilities, gifts and friends, casual and otherwise, that we have, but we rarely contemplate what it must be like to not have them at all.
I have said before and know that I will probably have reason to say again, that every time some well meaning soul comes to me and gives me a pat on the back and tells me how hard it must be to raise a child like Jordan, how strong I must be, I will will continue to tell them that no matter how hard it is to raise a special needs child, how much harder must it be to BE one?
How must it hurt to finally have come to that point of knowing "Hey, I'm different. Not everyone has these problems, not everyone feels this way."?
How must it feel to know that the "cool girls", the "pretty girls", aka the so called "normal" girls will never give you the time of day, will never ask you out, will never be a part of your life in any way other than to smile politely or in some cases, as has happened to Jordan before, to play with your mind and act flirty just so that later they can go to their friends and laugh over how they messed around with the "retard"?
How must it feel to want to be so much... a scientist, an archaeologist , a computer programmer, even a cross country truck driver and know that chances are it won't happen because you can't even manage basic math that well, much less higher studies?
Last night, my son lashed out at me and at his stepfather. He did it because he knew of no other way to ease his own pain. I have no broken bones, no bruises. The only thing that broke last night was my heart.... and his.