This weekend we’ll be celebrating my son’s 17th birthday. It’s incredible how quickly time flies by. Sometimes I wish I can make time stop and live in that moment; in that warm space of comfort and happiness for just a little while longer.
There was a time when I wished for the complete opposite. I wished for time to hurry along so I could see how my son would develop. I wanted him to get older so I could have confirmation that he’d be alright, that he’d still be reaching milestones and that the challenges we were facing today would recede with maturity and the passing of time.
And time did pass….all too quickly.
I also believed that my worries would be less as he got older. When he was a baby I worried about a lot of things, like most parents of special needs children do. I worried about school and if he was being properly supervised and cared for. I worried about therapy and wait lists and finances. I worried about his lack of language and if he would ever verbally communicate. And I thought to myself “things will get easier when he gets older”. And to some extent things have gotten a lot easier but they’ve also gotten a lot more complicated too.
I find parenting my child today is more challenging than when he was younger. Today I worry about his future when I am no longer here to help guide him. This weighs heavily on me and I think about it all the time. Everything I do is always taking into account his future and life after he finishes school at 21.
Today I worry about giving him the essential life skills and job training opportunities within in our community that will hopefully translate into real employment at some point in his life.
Today we work on strengthening independence by encouraging self-determination so that tomorrow he feels safe and secure knowing he has the skills to make a decision for himself.
Today we work on getting involved in the community so he develops an understanding and appreciation of his value in our society.
But my biggest worry is where he will live when I am no longer here. This is why I work so hard in helping him become independent, making his own decisions, preparing his own meals, because I believe in my son and his potential.
Today we plan for tomorrow.
So as we gather to celebrate him this weekend, he’ll be in and out of the house as he chooses. He’ll come see us when he wants and slip back into his private comfort zone when it all becomes too much for him. He’ll dictate how he wants to celebrate his day and he already knows that he has every right to celebrate it as he chooses.
This weekend I will make time stop. I will watch my son stim and dance and sing his favorite songs and live in that perfect moment.
Thanks for stopping by…