The Letter

Dear friend,
Can you tell me what it’s like? I promise, I’m not intending to be rude, just genuinely curious.
The only child I have, well, she is different than the others, and while I am not sad or disappointed, I am curious how it feels to be you, instead of me.
How does it feel to hear your baby say mama? Does it fill your soul like the smell of cookies baking? Did you cry tears of joy? When they grab toys and figure out their intricacies, do you marvel at their hands? Did you swell with pride?
I know it must be exhausting to watch that precarious tiny human all day. When us moms joke that we kept the kids alive all day, your meaning must be much different than mine. How was it, when they were tiny and new, to hold them without cords or tubes? Did they look you in the eyes? Did they latch onto your chest, willingly and eager? Did you get to hold them in your hospital bed as you recovered?
I wonder if I am missing out. We both have our blessing but mine came with different instructions than yours. I love her and I would never change a thing, but some days I marvel as your child communicates so easily, and I catch myself realizing that everything you and I have in common may not be much at all.
My home is not baby proofed because my baby doesn’t try to get into things. She lies there without a word, innocently entertained in the same toy for hours. Do you get to explain the things that happen? Does your baby understand why you correct her? Mine does not, and it kills me. I don’t even know if she knows I love her. But God, do I love her.
Dear friend, don’t be mad when I don’t always want to see you. Some days, it just hurts to know that there are parts to parenthood I was unequivocally denied. I get bitter, not because my lot is less than yours, but because it isn’t the lot I had envisioned.
I mourn more than just the words and steps, but the future and it’s overwhelming uncertainty. I mourn her wedding day. I mourn her first car. I mourn the grandchildren I will never have.
My friend, I am sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable that I feel this way… that I watch you in awe and wonder. Your life is like watching a movie’s alternate ending, and my curiousity just gets the better of me.
I hope you understand, my friend.
Sincerely, the special needs mom.

8 Comments

  • Alicia

    You have me in tears my friend but they a good tears, tears that someone else really understands. My amazing special girl is 9 year’s old now, it’s unreal to think the Dr’s wouldn’t even give her a month and she has made it 9 years. When I became pregnant with her little sister 5 years later I could see the dread on the Dr’s face. Oh you have a special daughter well we better watch this one closely. I’m not complaining that I got to have a ultrasound every 2 weeks even though everything looked fine. Her sister came out healthy and I spent her first 2 years of life asking the Dr if she should do that already. She was walking at 10 months and I though something was wrong because as the mom to the she girl before her I never new what “normal” was. So my friend if or when you have another it will never be “normal” because we are special parents even to our children who are not special needs.
    Giving you a big hug love and prayers from a mom who has been there.

  • Ruth

    Our family was blessed with a most precious gift, a special needs child! These babies/children are surely “special”; not only that, their parents/caregivers are so very special! Even tho we are the great grands we also relate to the questions of the future for this child. When I pray for our baby, I always include all of these other specials. God bless each of you.

  • Sheila Yale

    So many times we feel guilty for asking the big questions. We feel weak for voicing our pain. Thank you for not being afraid…for being strong in the way we all would like to be.

  • rhapsodyville

    The strength required to care for a child with special needs amazes me. May you find all the blessings in the journey and may you have peace for those things that will remain unknown.

  • CinDiLo

    A brilliant writer will immerse you in the moment. This was beautiful, truthful and allows the reader to understand the writer in the depths of her psyche.
    I teared up as well thinking of my parents since i had a birth defect and was hospitalized for my first 13 months.
    Xoxoxo

  • Colleen

    WOW…that was a tear jerker! I love your open honest questions…as those are what we all think but never ask. I had a therapists tell me recently that we need to mourn what was lost…meaning our ideas of what parenting would be like and what our child would be like. It is ok to mourn that and ask these questions. I love your blog. thank you for sharing it with us.

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