It’s so easy to get lost in the downfalls of having a child with special needs. The potty training at 13, the stroller still needed, the $4000 to set up a special needs trust so she will be taken care of, the messes made, the frustrations. It’s so easy to wallow in those, to forget all of the good, to forget how far she’s come.
I pick her up from the sitter’s after school and she lights up to see me. She yells “Hi Mom!” and runs to the car. How many years did I beg and pray for her to say “mom”? How many hours did we spend working on walking and running?
She says she’s hungry and wants string cheese and crackers. She walks to the cupboard and chooses the crackers and tries to sneak Oreos. How many years did we fret that she may never be able to tell us what she wants? How many conversations did we have about her being able to just ask for simple things like crackers and cheese?
She’s frustrated by hormones or her brothers or lack of pajama time. She yells and voices her unhappiness. She has a stomachache or a sore throat and is able to tell us and ask for medicine. How many years did we worry that we’d never know she was in pain?
She treats her stuffed animals like best friends. She talks to them, she plays with them, she chooses one each night to sleep with. She loves hanging out with them, with me, with Daddy, with her brothers, with Grandma. We are her friends and she is perfectly content to just have us to play with. How many hours (even now) have I/do I spend worrying about her lack of friends? If it doesn’t seem to bother her, why does it bother me so much?
She gives us hugs, she tells us she loves us, she tells we’re beautiful and handsome and gentle and wonderful. How many years did we spend waiting for any words at all?
When I think I can’t possible do one more day, change one more pull-up, pick up one more mess, think one more depressing thought, I look at her and I remember. I remember all of the little things I hoped she would accomplish and think about just how very far she’s come.