. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finding the Energy to Give More

When your child is born you have such high hopes and dreams for him. You imagine him growing up healthy and happy, enjoying youth to its fullest. Then you imagine him attending a good college and studying a field they love. Of course, he'll find a wonderful job, get married to a lovely girl, and start a family. You imagine family vacations with fun and laughter. You imagine all the best things in life for him.

Then you hear the words "developmentally delayed" and "speech impediment." A little time goes by and more testing and you hear the words "autism spectrum" and "ADHD." Later, through more testing, you hear "learning disabilities." Your dreams for your child change. You begin to question whether an academic environment is right for your child or not. Maybe he'll be able to attend a trade school or community college someday. Maybe he won't have a fantastic career but he'll be a productive citizen. And finding a wife and starting a family suddenly gets taken off the table. The years go by--you hope that he'll just graduate high school and be able to live out on his own. Maybe he will get disability to help cover living expenses since he can only hold a part time job. On bad days, when all thoughts turn dark, you hope for a group home--anything besides him living at home for the rest of our lives and having a home after you die.

There is a grieving process that occurs when you learn your child is disabled. You mourn for the child that will never grow up to be what you originally dreamed he could be. You feel sorry for yourself and ask, "Why me?" and think of what you should have done differently--maybe if I ate better or exercised more when pregnant. Maybe earlier intervention and diagnosis would have helped. If only I would have pushed for more frequent therapy sessions. Maybe I should home school him and keep him protected from bullies and hardships and awkward social situations.

Today is just one of those difficult days when all these thoughts come to mind and I wonder if I'm doing everything I can to help my son. Sometimes, it really doesn't feel like enough.

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