March 13, 2017:
It shouldn't have caught me by surprise. I knew this day was coming. I hoped it wouldn't. I prayed it wouldn't. I almost convinced myself it wouldn't. And then it did. Today was beautiful, and today sucked.
March 14, 2017:
I don't talk about life as a "special needs" parent or about my "special needs son" because I don't see myself or my son in that light. I am a parent - he is a child - we are both in the process of becoming. But there are some things that are unique to people in our particular position. There are some things that only another person walking your path can fully understand. There are words only another parent on your journey can say to make you feel like someone gets you.
Yesterday was beautiful. My husband and I had the rare opportunity to devote ourselves 100% to celebrating our son. Thanks to the amazing men and women of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Special Children's Committee, Landon experienced the kind of day dreams are made of - he got to be a real cowboy! Family members came to the rodeo to cheer him on as his cowboy buddy took him through the events. He got a trophy and real cowboy belt buckle. He was so proud. The image of him waving his American flag (that he somehow convinced the photographer he needed more than they did) as he rode a horse around the arena is beautifully imprinted on my heart.
Yesterday also sucked. It's funny, I didn't have the right word for how I was feeling, but when I mentioned it to the mom of one of Landon's friends (because I had to tell someone who would understand), she looked at me and said: "It sucks." And it does. I think I just needed permission to feel that way.
You see, yesterday morning Landon was having a hard time. There was a problem with a game on his Wii-U. This seems minor in the realm of all things, but to Landon this represented a significant glitch in the matrix - this one thing stood to wreck his entire day. He sat on my bed, face buried, repeatedly saying the name of the game and rocking back and forth. His 4 year-old brother climbed up next to him, rubbed his back and said "It's okay buddy, it's just not working. It's not broken. It's okay. Mom and Dad can fix it."
It was so sweet to see his little brother comfort him and try to help him understand the situation - and it was like a frozen shock through my heart. The little brother had become the shepherd, the guide, the comforter. The roles reversed. We knew it would come. We knew that even though Landon often presents as a neurotypical 6-year-old, he is still different in many ways. We knew one day little brother would surpass big brother in his abilities to navigate and understand the world around him. We knew that little brother would likely one day take on the role of "big brother," and for the first time yesterday - we saw it.
Landon is amazing. Landon is perfect. Landon is our joy. Landon makes us laugh, and cry, and worry, and smile. He is such a blessing. But to be honest, I can't say "I couldn't imagine life any other way," because I can. I did. When I was pregnant, we struggled with choosing the right name - strong, solid, equally fitting for a future Texas high school football player and the outstanding adult he would someday be as he went about conquering the world. I imagined his entire life. His friends, his sports, his interests. And, I remember vividly driving away from a specialists' office on a snowy December day, when those dreams shattered into a million pieces. I remember excruciating days and nights, trying to collect all of those shattered shards and chips and forge them back together. Eventually, with God's help (and my mother's patience and intervention), a new and beautiful reality emerged from the destruction of the dreams I had built.
|Landon and his Cowboy Buddy|
|Landon with his trophy and belt buckle|
|Landon riding a horse in the arena|
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." ~ Psalm 19:21
This life was not my plan. Sometimes the unfairness hurts. Landon didn't get to choose his path - it was chosen for him, for reasons I can never know and probably couldn't understand. But Landon is awesome, and I love him more than words, and this verse reminded me that even when my plans don't come to be, God's do. He is all--knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, all-seeing, and he loves Landon even more desperately than I do. I would never have chosen this life, but I am thankful for it. I love it for the highs and the lows and the daily reminders that God is bigger, God is greater, His purpose will stand, and that is beautiful yesterday, today and forever.