I’ll start this out with the obvious, having a child with special needs is difficult. Then I’ll state the second most obvious answer, being a mom at 19 is even harder. But most of the little moments are worth it! Today was just one of those days where Cody was just so calm-very rare. He wasn’t sick or fussy, just content. Although I got no sleep due to studying for my extremely challenging abnormal psych exam on Wednesday, Cody woke up happy and now that I really think about it… I haven’t heard him cry all day…not once. It’s so surprising to me because it’s his only way of communication but it’s very pleasing to hear or in this case, not hear. In the afternoon, we cuddled on my bed he rested his back against me with his legs on mine and watched new youtube videos for toddlers, he seemed almost serene and that is just something you don’t find in a toddler, especially one who is 3 weeks away from two! We probably cuddled for about 45 minutes until he looked up at me with his big blue eyes and long curly eyelashes. He gave me a serious look so we stopped watching videos and called Aunt Paola, my older sister. His face lit up as he saw her and he wiggled like a worm from excitement. What surprised me most today is that his arms were so.. not stiff. They were as soft and manoeuvrable as they never have been because of his Dystonia. It truly made me so happy and I played with his arms as he giggled and laugh on camera. Fast forward a few hours and it’s bath time, because I don’t have class tonight and don’t start studying till later I wanted to bathe him instead of having my mom do it. Unfortunately for some time, he’s been dreading bath time at my house and it makes bath time unenjoyable for the both of us-but again- today he was so excited to be in the tub! I think the hardest part about having a special needs child is definitely bath time because Cody can’t sit on his own and I have to hold him up with one arm, hold myself with my chest against the side of tub and somehow manage to put shampoo on his hair, put soap on the sponge and rise/lather his body. Plus his little buttocks is so slippery that I sometimes have to put more weight against the tub to hold myself and him up! Anyway, back to story of bath time, he laughed throughout the whole thing, he splashed around like a dolphin and tried drinking the water and biting the colorful bath letters and numbers. His eyes were once again lit up and shiny, his grin big as ever exposing all 20 little sparkly whites of his and now that I’m sitting on my computer screen I get to thinking that these are the moments worth living for, even if it is harder than having a typical child, who walks and communicates with you. I honestly think it’s more of an adventure for both yourself and your child. Not only do you have a stronger bond, but you definitely have a much more special one.
What does Independence mean?. well if you’re looking for the dictionary definition then
Independence: freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. and that’s just from dictionary.com. Today I realized just what being independent really means. All throughout this summer, I was infatuated with a guy who I met at community college. He was absolutely perfect to me in every aspect- boy what an overstatement that was. He -obviously- did not have a child as I did and had the freedom of a fly. He could go anywhere he wanted at any given time and to a 19 year old girl with not that kind of freedom it sounded like heaven. My parents have always restricted me more than my peers about curfews, how long I could be out and with who. I also have the unfortunate disadvantage to not have my license (yet!). Well, this boy always said I should demand for more freedom and get a job and go to school- become independent, just as he was, so I could “earn freedom” from my parents. For months I tried to get a job with no luck, being a mom really killed it because of my awful inflexible hours. This guy always nagged at me at not having enough freedom, so I pushed my curfew more-all for this guy. He was never worth it, I was so in it for him and he just wasn’t, he told me things like “you’re not THAT attractive” and “I don’t really like you THAT much” for lack of better words. he used me. The independence I thought I wanted was the one where I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I pleased. Where my parents couldn’t tell me what to do, but for what? why do I wanna hang out pat 2am anyway? what is there to do-nothing. Today I saw my son stand with some assistance for 3 seconds. 3 whole seconds he was standing, the longest 3 seconds. He also ate in his high chair with both hands-fed himself. he was alone there eating his cheerios as if it were an every day thing. THAT is true independence, being able to STAND alone or WALK alone or talk for yourself. that is the true meaning of independence. I’m glad I realize it now and I’m grateful to have that independence, so I can help my son become independent. one day, he will.