One of the hardest things for me, personally, is to focus on how far Jay has come, instead of worrying about how far he still has to go. It’s something I work really hard at and have to constantly remind myself of. It’s 1 of the things that everyone whose blog I read says we, as parents need to do. The problem is that as soon as 1 new milestone/goal is reached ten more pop up that are yet to be mastered. It seems (to me) that the older my children get, the more expectations they are faced with and it gets harder and harder for Jay to keep up. We all want our children to do well and to be the best they can be so we keep our eyes fixed forward, and we push ourselves and our children to learn more and be better and pick up new things faster. In all this hustle and bustle, who has time to stop and look back? Anyone who has ever run a race knows that if you look back it slows you down. We (especially we with special needs) can’t afford to be slowed down any more than we already are. Right?
But this is not a race. It’s my son’s life. A life that he will live on his own terms and at his own pace, but with my help and support. I do him an injustice by not seeing all his progress. By not acknowledging all the things he knows now that he didn’t know before. I do him a terrible dis-service by not realizing that all the new things he still has to learn will not be possible if not for the (now) old things that he learned before. It’s important that I see, really see, that he can learn and has learned. The truth is that even if there was no evidence of Jay being able to learn, I wouldn’t give up on him. I’d still keep trying. I’d still keep pointing out objects and saying their names over and over to him. I’d still ask him questions and give him options and make him do home-work and talk to his teachers about how he is doing and what we can do to help him do better. I’d still seek out more and more (affordable) therapy. I’d still do all those things … but by seeing his history I don’t need to go into the future on blind faith or unsubstantiated hope. I can go on the strength of him and what he’s shown himself to be capable of and that just makes it just a little bit easier to bear.
This morning was just a typical morning of dropping the kids off at their summer program. This is the last week of it. It’s the same place that Jay will go after school starts next week. The lady who will pick him up from school asks me very casually … “Will he be in the same class this year as last year?” All she wants to know really is where she is to pick him up. I tell her that he will be in the same class and have the same teacher. She looks at me with utter surprise (mixed with some confusion) and asks another question. 1 that caught me so off guard I think I stuttered before responding to her. My mind skipped a beat as my heart did a little dance. She asked … “Why is he in the same class when he understands so much more now than he did last year?”
She knoweth not what she did by asking me that question. But to Ms Dani and all the other people who see my son’s potential and who see him for what he is and has already achieved and not for all that he cannot as yet do, I am so grateful and I will keep trying to master that way of thinking.