Friday, September 12, 2014
A Letter to the Mom of a Typical Child from Me...A Mom of a Child with Special Needs
First of all, special needs is a misnomer. We both have children with special needs though mine has autism and yours is typical. Our children are unique to their own personhoods and individulalities. So lets strike that title. This is just a letter from me to you....one mama to another.
Our journeys are in many ways so very similar. We were both given an miracle to care for, to comfort and to guide. We both looked forward in anticipation to the arrival of our little one and both our lives were forever changed the moment we were introduced to our bundled and blanketed babe. We were both overwhelmed with a weird mix of doubt and love and joy. We both felt a ferocity of protection towards our infants. We were both brand new mamas and had both been given the highest responsibility- that of bringing up a child.
We were both overcome by those first few days, weeks, months and years...for similar reasons if you think about it. Is our child healthy? hungry? in need of anything? safe? liked? loved?
We're both still overcome by those very same thoughts, aren't we?
The only difference between us, dear sweet friend, is that one day someone came to tell me that my child...my love-my contribution to the world-the very best part of me- was less than perfect. One day, someone told me that there was something wrong with my child.
That person then led a parade of other somebodies to invade my family's doctor's office, our home and our school. They wrinkled their noses and squinted their eyes. They examined my baby and found him defective.
Their titles and degrees alone shielded these arrogant offensive ones from my wrath. Its amazing what we will let people say about our children if they have a properly distinguished title.
Then, these professionals told me exactly what and how much was wrong with my child- how delayed he was and with which disabilities he had been affected. My child lost his name to the world that day and gained labels. He was no longer Isaac Asher- Happy Laughter-
In a moment, he had transformed from Isaac to autistic, handicapped, disabled and delayed.
That was the day that you and I, sweet friend, parted ways. You continued on your journey of swimming lessons and soccer matches and I started off on a new road of therapies and advocacy.
Dear friend, like you, I brim with pride for my child. I have seen him overcome so much and achieve wonders I never dreamed possible. Society though is still distracted by his many challenges and failings. I merely rejoice that he has learned to smile and tell me that he loves me.
I helped my child attain every word, every skill. I taught him to obey societal rules and to ask for what he needs. I did that so that the world could better learn to accept him for his wonder and not be blinded by his differences.
May I ask a favor of you, sweet friend? You know as well as I do that our circumstances, yours and mine, were chance. Either one of us could have been given a child with challenges. Either one of us could have traveled the path I am on. It could have been you writing this letter. It could have been you trying to figure out how to ask this favor of me. By chance alone, it isn't.
I need you to teach your child- your typical child whom the world has deemed worthy of a place in society- your child who has passed inspection- about love and acceptance.
I need you to teach your child about my child. I need you to teach your little one to love and appreciate individuality and uniqueness.
Teach your child not to fear those who are different than himself.
Teach him the truth, that all of us are treasures and worthy of the highest honor.
Teach him kindness. Show him how to seek out those who need encouragement and then to bestow love.
Teach your little one compassion and empathy.
Teach your child the validity of other people's feelings and of his own.
Teach your child love.
Tell him of his purpose- our purpose as humans- to journey together; to take care of each other and to step out together in achievement and in hope.
As one mama to another, I know how important our role is. We shape our young ones. We contribute and can sculpt our dear ones into helpers or hoarders.
I ask. I beg.... please teach your child to love.
The future of my child depends on it...
With all my love.... Isaac's Mama