Accept Him Where He’s At

We are seeing more and more of Nathan’s personality. He is mostly non-verbal, yet he certainly finds ways to get his point across. Sometimes he’s quite funny.

A couple of months ago, one of his caregivers asked him if he wanted her to rub his feet. To which he emphatically nodded “yes.” She comes once a week to massage him and she typically starts at the top of his leg and works down. Apparently this isn’t what he had in mind, because he jerked his leg away, looked up at her, and stamped his foot a few times to communicate that he really wanted her to massage just his feet.

We both thought this was hilarious and laughed about it for a little bit. I told her that I wished he could talk because I think he would be pretty funny. And she said, “Oh I still think he’s pretty funny without talking.”

She is right.

I have all sorts of ideas of how I want Nathan to be. Most of them involve him being a typical four-year-old kid. I want to hear his sweet little boy voice say “widdle puppy” and “wost wovie.” I want to see him wrestle Mac and be an annoying little brother. (Okay, I realize he is still an annoying little brother to Mac but I want it to be about normal things not that he has slobbery hands or he grabs his arm or hair too hard.) I want Nathan to follow me around the house chattering on about pretend play and all of his favorite toys. And oh how I want to watch him eat all the kid foods — pizza, yogurt, goldfish crackers, and drink apple juice.

I watch therapist after therapist come into our house and accept him where he’s at better than I do at times. They enjoy him and see him for who he is. He really does have a good sense of humor, he’s cuddly, affectionate, and smart about a lot of things. They see things in him that I don’t. They remind me of where he was and what he is doing now. Even though they can’t give me any predictions about what his future will be like, I know by their presence and enjoyment of him that he’ll likely draw people in and capture their hearts his whole life long.

They are modeling to me how to accept where he is now and push him to become more.

It’s a delicate dance. As mom I fail at it miserably. I find myself overcome by specialist appointments, medication refills, juggling therapy schedules, sending supplies to school, staying on top of emails, and chasing people down on the phone. There is no instant gratification in any of that. But there is in belly laughs.

I’m grateful for the people who surround us and smother us with their encouragement. They hold up a mirror and allow me to see my son from a different perspective. They affirm what Nathan does and communicates. Mostly, they  appreciate the hilarity in our lives. They believe in who Nathan will become — a lover of life, laughing, and being with people. We have a long way to go but I’m thankful for the reminders that it’s okay to be right where he’s at now too.

My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!

Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!

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