This piece was originally posted on my personal blog Spirited Blessings in August 2010. I try to write original posts for Hopeful Parents but life, as I know you all can understand, is somewhat chaotic right now but this piece once again speaks directly to how I am experiencing life with my son right now.
Driving down the street I almost pass by the boys on their bikes without a second glance. But I notice them - goofing off, treats from the store in one hand, pretending to run each other off the sidewalk. Their tanned skin and bruised legs tell stories about their adventurous summer.
I realize I have been sitting at the stop sign moments too long - it has hit me. These almost adolescent boys enjoying a long summer day of freedom - they are boys in my sons grade at school. He started Junior Kindergarten with all of them - when they were all on equal footing. Now they are worlds apart from my son in so many ways. My heart hurts for the things my son cannot do and tears threaten to spill down my face.
I glance at my son who is sitting in the passenger seat beside me. Has he noticed them? Does he long to be free like they are? He gives a little wave to them as we drive by. There is my answer and I find myself wishing in some ways that he was less aware, for his sake. As we leave them behind he leans his head against the glass and closes his eyes.
He is all too aware of the differences, his longing is strong even if it is not voiced. I hold back tears but I reach over and take his hand. He squeezes it and I wish I knew what to say to make it better. But I know nothing I say would take away the pain of his longing and his feelings of loss. There are no words.
mom2spiritedboys is the mother of two very spirited boys and is now embracing extreme parenting in the trenches after trying to fight it for many years. She is married to a wonderful man who works hard to ignore the state of disrepair of their home and made her the happiest woman on earth when he took over laundry duty in its entirety in September 2009. You can read more from her at her personal blog Spirited Blessings
Although my daughter is probably less aware than your son, I often see longing in her own eyes and it kills me. I go through this heavy, heavy feeling periodically -- it's broken when I acknowledge the very "beingness" of her being -- that she is not meant to be another way but just is. That her path is a different one and it's not mine.ReplyDelete
Your post is so simply beautiful and powerful --
The neighborhood kids may say hello, but rarely does anyone ask him to play. It bothers me. The boys play without thinking of including him. Ouch, it hurts us both.ReplyDelete
We all face different challenges in life. Have hope and courage. Past experience does not predict future accomplishment.ReplyDelete
It is a too familiar feeling, that longing. These are tough years for our kids. Letting go comparing is how I manage it best. When I look at my guy in the world according to him, he is content, most of the time. His future will be not "typical" but I like to believe that the boundaries are largely unlimited. The growing pains are the hard part and somehow we get through them. When I think about what I hope for him, it is not that he be like everyone else but that he finds and thrives at things that he is passionate about. Some will be typical, so will be unusual, but all will come from the heart and be supported by those who love him.ReplyDelete
But you were there with him and held his hand and he squeezed yours back!ReplyDelete
I like what Elizabeth said. I have to keep reminding myself that if my son was like those boys -- he simply wouldn't be Ben. He would be some other kid, but he wouldn't be Ben.
It doesn't mean I don't ache at times. But I have to keep reminding myself that there is no comparison. Our kids' life experiences and challenges are on an entirely different scale.
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