Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
We had a baby three weeks ago, baby Gracie. She’s beautiful. Dark hair, big blue eyes, and a perfectly formed cupid’s bow of a mouth. We are in the lovey dovey honeymoon stage: everything she does is a minor miracle. Every hair on her head is beautiful. Her perfectly formed features stun us in their, yes, perfection. I stare at her hours upon end, marveling at the wonder that my husband and I have created.
And it occurred to me. Our boys never had that. There has never been a time when someone stood amazed at their existence, blinded by their beauty, speculated about their promising future. And that has struck me as profoundly sad.
You see, they were born under less than ideal circumstances, and removed from their home for their safety. Ironic considering they were removed from their foster home for their safety months later. That’s where we came into the picture. At the time it was a ridiculously busy time – going from one child to three children; two of whom were globally – and horrifically – delayed. Our transition time was literally two weeks, and our first experience with the boys was a three-day overnight stay.
We had boys who could not be consoled, one of whom refused to be hugged or touched. We had self injurious behaviors from one boy, and a nearly-year old boy who could not hold his head up, hold a bottle, or ANY of the things that were considered “normal” for his age.
Immediately we were thrust full throttle into the world of special needs, advocacy, and 12 appointments per week living. We loved our boys, still do of course, but there was little to no time to faun over their features and revel in their little boy smell. Instead we practically lived out of our newly acquired station wagon, schlepping everyone from appointment to meeting, to government offices, to, well, you get the idea.
And so my boys have been robbed, yet again, of this experience. And, in a way, WE have been robbed of that experience for them, too. So now, many years past its due, I am trying to give all of us that experience. An extra head rub here and there, extra “I love yous”, and hugs & kisses when tolerated. It’s too little, that’s for sure. They should have had time in their lives where they were admired and adored. We’ve just been so busy trying to help them get caught up to speed, reach milestones, and make up time, that we’ve, well, dropped that very important ball.
Time to rectify this situation. Time to get back to basics and marvel at the miracles that are my boys. To enjoy being with them, listening to them, talking with them. Maybe adding Grace has added a bit more chaos and noise to our home; she has also made me think about things in a completely different light.
Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to three children; 16 year old NT, 6 and 5 year old boys on the spectrum; and, since life was getting a touch boring, she’s added a bun in the oven. Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at MyTidewaterMoms.com, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at KellyHafer@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com.
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