Being a parent is not an easy job. I don’t know what it’s like to be a parent of a “typical” child, only a special needs child. I know that I constantly worry that I’m doing the wrong thing. In fact, that is probably the number one thing I do. Worry. I worry that I’m not doing enough, giving enough or teaching enough. I worry that I’m not enough.
When it comes to being a parent though, is it ever enough?
I remember when I became pregnant for the second time that I was worried I wasn’t going to love the new baby. I kept thinking that I loved the first baby so much that I couldn’t possibly love another baby enough. Turns out I was wrong of course, but man I was really worried there for a second.
When my littlest little was diagnosed with severe autism, my worry mode went into overdrive. I worry about this boy nonstop. And despite his deficiencies, he is a happy little guy. I don’t know if he understands the depths of his disability, but I do know that when I’m feeling especially shitty about my parenting prowess, a hug from him makes everything better.
I’m currently sitting in my living room writing this. Oldest and Middle are in the dining room, fighting and doing their homework. The Littlest Little is playing with his tablet. He has it laying on the coffee table, playing an episode of Dora the Explorer and he’s stimming. He has his face near the screen and his fingers near his face. And he wiggles them back and forth with speed. I jokingly refer to them as magician fingers, if that helps give you a visual. He will do this for hours on end. I don’t understand it, but it’s what makes him happy. I have been trying to engage with him for the last ten minutes or so. But he doesn’t hear me. He doesn’t respond when I call his name. This rejection breaks my heart, but I know it’s not intentional. He can’t help it. I do try to redirect him when he stims. But sometimes it’s just easier to let him do it.
I wonder if it will always be like this. If he will ever come out from behind the shell that autism has built around him. If he will ever speak in sentences or ride a bike or use a fork. I hope that he does. I know that underneath that shell is a little boy who is trying to get out. I just hope that he gets the opportunity.
I worry. I think all mothers worry. I think it’s part of the territory. Along with sleepless nights, stretch marks and giving up a piece of ourselves. We do it because our children mean the world to us. And someday, they are going to be all grown up. And we want them to do well in the world. When I accomplish something, no matter how big or small, my mom is always the first person I tell. And she is happy for me. No, I’m not a little kid anymore. But it shows me that a mother’s love never dwindles. We will always be proud of our kids and love them without question.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Make sure you tell the mother’s in your life that you love them and appreciate them. And also buy them wine, cause it’s your fault they drink.