When I first began to notice Clintons challenges at the age of 15 months I did not know what lay ahead for him or us. I was scared, for him, his future, how society would treat him, if he would be able to live on his own, if he would be picked on or even if I was the mom for the job. When I was pregnant with Clinton I made a promise to him that no matter what I would be there and that he would never be alone, but what I did not account for was how hard it was going to actually get or how cruel the world could actually be.
From employers who fired me because Clinton had too many appointments, to health insurance who fought me on all those appointments, to the doctors at the appointments who left me with me more questions than answers and to the teachers who just wouldnt answer questions. There are thousands of books and websites and organizations out there on every learning disabilty you can imagine, but not one of them is written on your child and none of them really prepare you for the journey your on or the road blocks you will hit.
It never bothered me that Clinton flaps his hands out of excitement or that he is a little uncoorniated or that he is Dyslexic or that he is Autistic. I love how Clinton sees the world, I love how excited he is about life and learning, I love all his unique little quirks and I love how his brain works. What I do not always love is how cruel the world can be, how even grown adults can be cruel to a child, how ugly the public school system can be, how my best was always judged not good enough by someone, how many nights I just dont sleep or how many times I just felt alone.
I know a lot of parents who focus solely on the academic part of their childs life, the benchmarks, the scores, grade level standards just words and numbers on paper and while I do not judge – that isnt me. I never want Clinton to feel like he is only the sum of his academic perfomance or lack there of. I never want him to sit in a classroom thinking about how hard it is for him and internalizing that to shame or low self-esteem. I always want him to feel complete as he is. I always want him to embrace who he is inside and out and use that to find his purpose in life whatever that may be. I always want him to celebrate himself realizing his differences make him unique and so valuable to this world even when the world may not celebrate him.
To all the parents who struggle, I see you and I send you strength and so much love. Please remember we did not choose this battle but our little ones chose us because they knew we could handle it, they trusted us so lets trust ourselves.