Originally Published by Mommy Catharsis on Contemplative Chaos
My four year-old son was diagnosed with ASD last February. If you’re a parent of a child labeled with special needs, then you know what it’s like to agonize over what your child can’t do. It becomes an obsession; you imagine a life full of dreams dashed.
For this very post, I had planned on writing about how Big C can’t play catch, even though his twenty-two month-old brother so desperately wants to play with him. When Big C catches the ball (on the rare occasion he does), he just runs off with it.
But I never wrote that post. Because I realized,
Who gives a shit?
My son’s lack of desire or ability to play catch isn’t a deal-breaker to happiness. He doesn’t care. Why should I?
It got me thinking. Instead of agonizing over my son’s struggles, what if I focused on his strengths? This is such a more productive and positive way of thinking, it’s embarrassing to admit it took so long to consider it, but that’s what happens to us as parents when professionals start slapping labels on our children. We get scared, we get defensive, we get deflated.
So for this post, I want to take a moment to celebrate what makes my oldest son truly special to me. This is what Big C can do:
My son can experience life with an intensity many long for. His moments of happiness are so amplified, he cannot help but literally shout, embrace, and jump for joy.
My son can persevere. He gets angry and frustrated, but always presses on. A month ago, he wanted to learn how to ice skate. As he grew more frustrated, I became frustrated and wanted to stop, but he told me, “No, Mommy. We can’t give up. I have to do this!”
My son can melt my heart with his compliments. I was trying a dress on recently and he said, “Oh Mommy, you look beautiful. Just like a princess!”
My son can show true remorse. Without fail, after a meltdown, he will come to me and say sorry. Sometimes, it doesn’t come until the next day, but it always comes when he truly is sorry and ready to admit it.
My son can pay exquisite attention to a task he is truly interested in. In recent months, he’s demonstrated his ability to play for hours with Legos, creating the most imaginative creatures, vehicles, and buildings.
My son can feel selfless love. Whenever I catch him giving his younger brother a kiss or hug just because he’s overwhelmed with emotion for him at that moment, my eyes and my heart swell.
My son gets me. Just this weekend, I had my own minor meltdown and went upstairs to cool down and take a break. My son followed me upstairs and said, “Mommy, just take a deep breath.” He then sat beside me and rested his head on my shoulder. “It’ll be okay.”
My son can bring tears to my eyes. If you could see me now, you’d know exactly what I mean.
Now, it’s your turn to share. What can your amazing children do? Let’s celebrate them here!