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What They Say

August 14, 2012

This doesn’t define him. It simply explains some things about him.

Perhaps the most meaningful words any one person has ever spoken to me about my son and his diagnosis. And I know that people struggle, when conversation turns towards him, with what to say, when to say it, if to say anything at all. In truth, most days I struggle in the exact same way.

Sometimes questions are the most grace-filled. Like the friend who asked “Do you feel the weight every day of being a special needs mom?” And surprisingly (to me, in that moment) I said no. He’s my first. He’s my only. He’s my normal. And he’s just a kid. With some additional needs. But he has spunk and personality and opinions. And he plays. And he sleeps. And he eats. So, yeah, normal.

But, then again, there are those days when I’m bitter and angry and jealous and envious and tearful. And nothing feels normal. Or fair. Or right. Or happy. In that same conversation with that same friend’s husband, he said “Hey, that’s me some days too!” And by his simple admission I stumbled over the idea that even if it wasn’t about him, that strawberry headed boy of so many abilities, my heart would find other (maybe lesser) things to be bitter, angry, jealous, envious, and tearful over. So maybe all this inner striving is more about what’s been in my heart all along than it ever really has been about this diagnosis. Or about the injustice and unfairness of it all.

And then the well-intentioned encouragement gone awry. Like the refrain “God knew that you were the perfect parents for Reed!”  As if that’s the consolation prize. As if that turns everything around, makes perfect sense out of it all, gives ultimate meaning and value to why we, of all people for heaven’s sake, find ourselves in the midst of this story.

But, I’m humbled when I realize that there’s truth in that statement. Not the truth the person meant (you are strong and brave and wise enough) but the truth God knows. I’m weak minded when it comes to injustice. I’m impatient when it comes to someone who’s behind the curve. I’m self-serving and self-preserving. I care more about what people think than I do about what’s true.

I am the perfect parent for Reed because he is sanding away all the jagged edges and rough inconsistencies. He’s teaching me how to be an instrument of grace.

It’s really more like he’s the perfect kid for me.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2012 12:54 am

    Love, love, love this. It’s so true: our children do as much to mold us as we do to mold them–perhaps more.

    • August 15, 2012 12:58 am

      Thanks, Dr. Tuten. I suspect I’m only beginning to understand the impact our kids have on us…

  2. August 15, 2012 4:55 pm

    So I have pondered all day how having two children who are total opposites in temperament has shaped me….perhaps a flexibility I didn’t have when I was younger. But for Reed I see a sweet boy who may not look like me, but who is adaptable to his situation and who has an innate love of animals both of which I want to take genetic credit for. So I guess we look to our past and look to our future to see the person we are and how we are shaped by both sides. And I can’t wait to see more of how Reed the person comes out. Maybe he will also have my collecting gene 🙂

    • August 15, 2012 5:01 pm

      Wow, Mom, I loved how you said “…we look to our past and look to our future to see the person we are…”! I must get some of my way with words from you 🙂

  3. August 15, 2012 5:29 pm

    Thank you – I never consider myself a writer. But we know for sure you don’t have my collecting gene….

    • August 15, 2012 10:41 pm

      Nope, sure don’t! But it’s amazing how well we still get along 🙂

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