My 9 -year-old is one of a kind. There are days I question if I am doing this parenting thing right. There are days I just cry because I am not sure I am teaching him all of the skills he will need to survive in this world. There are days where I am convinced his hard head and smart mouth are going to be the death of me.
BUT there are days like this . . . days I know I have taught him the most important things in life.
I have taught him how to love and be loved.
I have taught him selfless acts of kindness are what really makes your soul happy.
I have taught him love is an irreplaceable item and no money in the world can buy it.
I have taught him kindness, compassion, and empathy.
He may not show it every day but days like today, I know he knows.
I am so proud of my boys, and I love to share the milestones and parenting wins. Every now and then I will even share an ADHD blog, a meme about ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), or a study on high functioning autism. Other than that, it is not something I talk about often unless I am with my closest friends or family. Today that will change.
I am raising exceptional and this is our story.
The frequent meltdowns.
The excessive arguing.
The anger and resentment.
The hateful talk.
The screaming for hours.
These are the things I don’t share on social media. These are the things that are dark and ugly, but they are not the things I let define my son.
These things are brutally exhausting and will steal the joy of parenting if I let them. There is no quick fix. Though I love parenting advice, your average solutions aren’t the answer.
My son looks like your typical 9-year-old. He loves baseball, fishing, hunting, and everything LEGOs. He is intelligent and funny. He has the courage of a lion and the heart of a lamb.
He is exceptional.
His brain is in a constant whirlwind. He struggles with his emotions and has trouble connecting with his peers.
He has an unbelievable IQ but he is vulnerable.
He is lonely because making and keeping friends does not come easy when you are “that kid”.
He loves the idea of friends and desperately wants to fit in, but playdates are hard. Overstimulation and new social situations can quickly go awry.
The school year is hard, too. The dreaded IEP meetings, the daily phone calls, the condescending tone of administration as they explain to me why he is again in the office or ISS, the ugly looks from other parents.
The screaming, the crying, and the heartache are inevitable. I know it is part of our journey, and I can only hope these situations will pave the way for the rest of the exceptional children who will come behind him.
Though I dread these things, I have learned to stop letting them steal my joy of parenting. I have learned to hold on to the good moments and let the ugly ones be fleeting. I have learned to embrace his unique skills instead of trying to force him to fit the mold society has created for him.
There are long hours and even longer days, but we do not let them overshadow the unbelievably incredible moments.
We laugh, play, and soak up this beautiful life. We shine a light on what makes him unique. We enjoy trips to visit family. We enjoy time with our friends who understand, and we embrace this wild, crazy journey as a team.
I love my son fiercely. The hours can be long and the days can be stressful, but I am committed to being the best parent I can be.
I will love, advocate, support, and encourage my son. The dark and scary moments, the tears, the frustration, and the heartache do not change the love I have for him.
I’d rather find joy in his successes than be encumbered by his struggles.
Here’s to the parents of exceptional children. We are a force to be reckoned with.
Here is to the moms and dads who are breaking down barriers and advocating for their children.
Here’s to the parents who don’t feel like they can fight this fight anymore but wake up time and time again and do it.
Here’s to us all.
I see you. I am you. I know what you are capable of.
You are STRONG.
You are COURAGEOUS.
You are UNSTOPPABLE.
I know it isn’t easy but you are everything your child needs.
I may not know you, but I am applauding YOU!
Originally published on the author’s blog