I just don’t know.

Maybe this is why it’s been such a difficult road, the “not knowing” bit.

If you have a child or adult who has differing abilities, you’ll understand.

You’ll understand the weight of not knowing.

And let me tell you, it’s HEAVY.

You carry it all day and throughout the night. Many nights, you won’t sleep because of it.

Because you truly won’t ever know.

With neurotypical kiddos, there’s a pre-set developmental pattern where the brain just develops on its own. At some point, you’ll know things will happen.

But with our kids, this just doesn’t happen. No one can guarantee for you that your child will develop.

You don’t know if your child will ever call for you.

You don’t know if he’ll ever understand what you’re saying.

You don’t know if she’ll ever eat or sleep unattended.

RELATED: I’m a Special Needs Mom and I Worry

You don’t know if they’ll ever write their name.

You don’t know if they’ll be able to use the washroom on their own or put on their jacket or shoes.

You don’t know if they’ll be able to cross a road alone or ask for help if they’re lost.

You don’t know if they’ll attend school or make friends.

You don’t know if they’ll ever drive, hold down a job, be able to order at a restaurant, or tell time.

I suppose the one that weighs heaviest for me is that I don’t and won’t know if someone has neglected or hurt my son. That one crushes my soul. Because he can’t tell me.

You just don’t know.

You can’t know now what will happen if something should happen to you, or if your child will ever be independent enough to live on their own.

And when it’s time, you don’t know if they’ll understand that you’ve left for good.

So you’ll do everything in your power possible despite your fears and doubts, to try to answer the “I don’t know.”

You’ll try your best to get them there.

You’ll enroll them in various therapies and school. You’ll seek out different groups and professionals. You’ll advocate, collaborate, and push for change. You’ll try your best to make your child’s life as full as possible.

But in the end, you just won’t know.

That’s the most difficult part of all of this.

RELATED: Becoming a Special Needs Parent Was Unexpected—But So is My Strength As a Mother

So in the meantime, I try to focus on my son’s smile. His love for water and music. His silly giggles when he skips about. His love for being outside and just being with me. Watching him jump in puddles.

I focus on all the things that make him happy and the love he has from so many.

It lightens the “I don’t know,” and sometimes, very rarely, I’ll forget it’s there.

So today, and to anyone who is carrying an “I don’t know,” may it be lighter.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

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Maria Garito

Maria Garito is the mother of special needs Autistic child living in Ontario, Canada. As a teacher, her advocacy is focused on education supports and programs. She also writes about mental health and chronic illness.

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