There was a time I was expecting the birth of a little boy that would love me at first sight. Little did I know that sight had nothing to do with love.
There was a time I thought you only took your baby to the doctor at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, one year, 18 months, and every year thereafter. What I learned is that a doctor’s job is much more than that, and that they’d become a much greater part of our lives.
There was a time I anticipated first steps, and being beyond the crawling stage where dirt is just a part of your life. Well, after anticipating crawling for over two years, and then first steps for another two years…I learned to stop anticipating and to enjoy every stage no matter how long it lasted.
There was a time I thought kindergarten meant the first day of school. Instead, the first day of school can come at three, with a transition into public school and special education.
Speaking of school, there was a time I thought parent-teacher conferences were once a year. That’s still true, but it’s called an IEP, and the 20 minute conference turns into a one…or a two…or a three hour meeting with the teacher and a dozen more of your child’s closest adult friends.
There was a time when I thought I couldn’t love books any more. As an avid reader, books are just part of who I am. Now I know that braille books are simply much cooler.
There was a time when I thought nothing was cuter than a child riding their first bike. There is something WAY cuter…a child holding their first cane.
There was a time when I worried that my children wouldn’t make any friends. I had no idea that I’d be worried about them even wanting friends. Autism will do that to a parent.
Speaking of autism, there was a time I wished I could read the minds of my babies, because they couldn’t express their thoughts, sadness, and joy. I never knew you could wish for the same thing nine years later…as I continue to do this very day.
There was a time when we started three college savings accounts for our kids. Then, we took a deep breath, and changed one into a trust account for a special needs child…admitting that the future is unknown.
There was a time when children with special needs were born to other people. Needless to say, that ship sailed long ago, and that time feels like it never existed. Luckily, I’m much wiser now.
There was a time when my perspective on life was very small, and the simple things seemed insignificant. Now I know that life is never insignificant, and it’s important to enjoy every extra snuggle, giggle, and hug. At the end of the day, every child grows up, and even if our children can’t be measured by the same milestones, they will still be measured by time.