I was you. I wasn't one of those amazing people who intentionally adopt a child with special needs. I admired such selflessness from afar. My neat and tidy family was easy and I was relieved that everyone was born "perfect." It wasn't until baby number four, that I became a member of the club that I wouldn't have sought entry. It's been over a year now that my mind and heart began to acknowledge that my Amos wasn't just one of the gang as his catching up seemed more and more unlikely. A new reality was born and with it came acceptance and grief, sadness and joy, isolation and camaraderie, wishing and cheering.
Maybe you're in the midst of these feelings and truthfully, I am too. Life was simpler before Amos and sailing was smooth for the most part. There are days that I close my eyes and think about how easy everything once was, though hindsight is tricky. Unwillingly joining a club that requires such dedication has been a different journey, a twist in the novel called life that has catapulted our existence into the wilderness. Life is different now, but somehow it's better and when you shrug off the minute details of difficulty, you're able to embrace the tapestry into which your family is being woven.
Find a friend. You need one that understands a good cry, a cheerleader, or shares laughter that spawns tears. I think for me, letting go of the life I had expected, has been the biggest challenge and gift to uncovering my joy. Amos lives such a happy existence that I remind myself that the problem with acceptance is embedded in my limited scope of thinking. Does that make sense? As long as I can remember, I've been pushed to be the best, do the best, work hard, succeed, and now, I have an Amos. I've been gifted the chance to love a person that doesn't meet those expectations in the standard way and though I'm still a soldier in an unknown land, the freedom is breathtaking. The land of extra special needs, the landscape of a small boy, the unexpected life that caught me off guard, all are cannonballs into the brightest joy I have ever known.