I’d like to state for the record: I am NOT special.
There’s nothing extraordinary about me. I’m an ordinary citizen. Just like you. Well meaning people tell me all the time: God only gives those special babies to special people. Nope! Because I’m not special and He gave one to me. D is special, but I am not. Before D came along I was just like anyone else. If I saw a child meltdown in the store, I, too, assumed the parent was lacking in discipline. MY child, when I had them, wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t allow MY child to speak to ME that way. Yes, that was me. Judgmental and self-righteous. The Pharisee and Sadducee kind of religion.
If I am different now, it’s because of the experience.
I have more patience than most. Before D, I prayed for patience. Not anymore. Thanks Lord, I have enough. I have to have more patience. D requires more patience. D questions authority. It’s just the kind of kid he is. D is a boundary pusher. D wants to know why. And falling back on the old standby: “Because I said so” doesn’t work with D. I have to give short explanations and then stick to my guns. And be patient. Because D WILL try to convince me to do something for him by making sure he takes a really looooong time doing it. He once sat around for HOURS trying to convince me to turn on the tv. Did I mention how smart he is? It’s not bragging. I keep trying to convince his dad he’d be easier to raise if he wasn’t.
I have more determination than most. Once again, I have to have. If I didn’t stick to my guns, D would run my entire house. D is a smart child who “wants to be a grown up.” He would like everything his way. Once, he tried to convince me to call the school board and explain to them that he doesn’t want to do school and that’s that. D would like to eat whatever he wants and weigh 200 lbs. D would like to watch tv 18 hours a day. D would never, ever do a math problem again. The only thing preventing those things is me and his dad. So, I am determined. I do the hard stuff. I make sure he does school. I make sure he goes to church. I even occasionally drag him to the store. Not because I enjoy it. But because D needs a normal life. D needs to know how he is expected to behave at church and at the store.
I have lots of sympathy for other moms. Whether they have children with special needs or not. Why? Because it’s HARD. This is hard. Being a mom is hard. Harder than I ever thought it would be. The sleep deprivation. The exhaustion. The feeling that you’re spinning your wheels and nothing ever changes. It’s MESSY. My two boys drag out every single toy they own every day. I kid you not. There’s stuff everywhere. Bedroom, living room, dining room area and even in the hallway. One of my mom friends were complaining about her house so I sent her pictures of mine. She hasn’t complained since. It’s DESTRUCTIVE. My boys tear up everything. A likes to tear up pages of books to get D to yell. There are marks on our wall behind dad’s rocker/recliner, where the boys have run and jumped on the chair making it bang against the wall. (Yes, I know I should stop them, but I pick my battles.) Our vertical blinds in the living room get twisted, shoved aside and pulled out, and are crying out to be replaced. It’s LOUD. My two are really loud. They have screaming matches, where they try to outscream each other. Yes! I’m serious! A cries and laughs really loudly. He was loud as an infant. D has a leftover whiny noise he makes he gets annoyed. We are working on those things, but it takes time.
Is there any wonder I have my own meltdowns from time to time? Yes. On my knees, crying so hard I can’t see or breathe. I have been broken. Numerous times. Crying out to God. Asking why. So when I tell a broken mom I know how she feels, I do. When I tell a mom with no support system that I want to help I’m being sincere. When I tell you that you can trust me you can.
So, am I special? No. Am I different than who I was? Absolutely. I had to change to survive. But it doesn’t make me special. It doesn’t make me any different than anyone else. The essence of being human is to change. Life changing events happen to lots of us. It changes us into better people. Nothing special though. Still ordinary.