“Hey, come here a minute,” I motioned to my 19-year-old son, Caleb. “I have a question for you.”


He reluctantly shuffled to the couch where I was sitting and sat on the other end.

It had been an emotional couple of months after his graduation from high school and now, preparing to go to college as we, his family, prepared for a move back to my home state where we would hopefully receive more resources and support for our disabled son, Lucas, Caleb’s brother. 

I looked at my son, sitting across from me, and thought it seemed like only years ago I was rocking him to sleep as a baby boy, and now here he was, a grown man. 

“I was just wondering, now that you’ve graduated and are about to go to college, what did you think about your childhood?”

My insecurities as a mother were in full bloom with the question I just posed.  

“What do you mean?” he warily asked.

I continued, “Did you feel like you had a good childhood? With everything that occurred in your life? You know, anything you would change?” 

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His life flashed before my eyes as I spoke these last words. 

My baby boy, born in 2002a hard birth without drugs. And then, two years later his brother Lucas arrived. His brother who had a stroke in utero and would have profound disabilities that would rob Caleb of so much of his mother as she dealt with Lucas’s never-ending needs.

My boy, at 6 years old, feeding his father when he no longer had the energy and lifting his father back into bed after he fell as cancer ravaged his brain.  

My boy, months later, while saying goodnight found his father had quietly passed from this life to the next. 

My boy, who would shortly thereafter be adopted by a new father and welcome three new siblings into his life and share his bedroom for the first time in his life. 

My boy, who would move numerous times as we chased resources for his brother with special needs.

My boy, who was excited by the birth of his baby sister, our eighth child in 2015.

My boy, now sitting beside me as the silence grew thick as he contemplated his answer.

“My childhood was good. I wouldn’t change a thing because I know you did the best you could.”

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My boy, full of grace. My wonderful son who in spite of everything life had thrown at him focused on the blessings rather than the injustice of the hand he had been dealt.

My boy, my son, I’m so incredibly proud to be your mom

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Jess Ronne

I’m an author, teacher, wife, non-profit director, special needs advocate and mom of 8. A few years back, we traded in our Michigan snow shovels for humidity and sweet tea in the South & we’ve never looked back. You’ll often find me on social media chatting about faith, grief, food, simplicity, blended families, gardening, special needs, and everything else in between. 

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