Jay has been counting down to his birthday since the day after Christmas. Finally, it’s tomorrow. Naturally, because of the mush that I am., I am spending today deep in my feelings.
In both good and bad ways, nothing in my life has affected me and the way I think or operate the way being this childs mother has.
It has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Often, alone. I have been tested, stressed out, overwhelmed and brought to tears more by being his mother than by anything else in my life. I have felt proud, humble, excited and grateful more by being his mother than by being anything to anyone else in my life.
I couldn’t have seen it a few years ago, but I know now that it is the ultimate and most awesome responsibility to raise Jay. It has been an unspeakable joy and a privilege to have a front row seat to his hard work and determination and to witness his personality unfold.
This parenthood journey has taught me more than I ever imagined I could learn – Both about myself and about other people. I am more compassionate to and understanding of others. I am more appreciative of every little thing. I appreciate every time he takes my hand and kisses the back of it. Every time he masters a new task. Every time he finds joy in a new interest. Every time he explains why he’s upset. Every time he volunteers to help. Every time he snuggles up in bed and tells me good night and he’ll see me in the morning.
Gone is the anxiety that used to have a choke hold on him, and by extension, on us. Gone is the constant worry over how he will get through each day. Each event. Each moment. Gone is the paralyzing fear that he will be bullied or taken advantage of or abused. Gone is the stress of wondering when my phone will ring, with someone asking me to come pick him up from school/after-care/camp. Gone are the sleepless nights as I lay awake wondering what his future looks like.
He is still autistic. I am not taking that away from him. He still scripts. Just last night he was trying to tell me that he didn’t want to do something and he said “We just don’t have the funds for that.” He still perseverates and still has a limited diet and has many other struggles. I still don’t know what his future looks like. But it’s not for me to know or worry about. What I do know is that I trust his ability to take part in the world in his own special and unique and fulfilling way. I can honestly say, I have come to love the way his brain works. It is a marvel. I would do anything to help him get through the hard days and to make sense of the confusing information. But oh my gosh, I would not trade this child or the things we have learned or the people who have been there for us, for anything in the world.
The goody bags are packed. His birthday hat (which this year is actually a crown) is waiting in the wings. The cupcakes for his class party have been ordered.
After school tomorrow he wants to go to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.
My baby turns 9 years old tomorrow. What a journey it’s been.
What a blessing he has been to me. Being his mother used to feel like a job. It used to feel like I had been dealt an unfair hand. Now, without a doubt, I feel like it is an absolute HONOUR and it couldn’t be more of a pleasure.
I love you son. So much! Happy Birthday! And before you even ask, yes, you can get ice-cream tomorrow.