My Thomas. He turns 21 today. Twenty one years ago I became a mom. Twenty one years ago my life changed in a way I would never have dreamed it would. Twenty one years ago Tommy and I were set off on a parenting trip we couldn’t have planned ourselves, with no instruction manual, no direction and no knowledge of how to raise a special needs child. Heck raising a typical child is challenging on a good day, throw in tantrums that never ended, aggresssive behavior, speech impairment, mental retardation and a good measure of loving behavior along with unsupportive medical “professionals” you have Thomas as a toddler and young child.
I don’t think I could have loved him more during these past 21 years. Through every challenge, every meeting with agencies to provide services, every school IEP meeting, every change of school, every residential school we had to visit when Thomas was 8 years old and again at 15 yrs old; every new set of obstacles we had to make our way through I loved him. So many times I wondered why we were the ones chosen to raise him. Some days I saw it as an honor somedays as a sort of punishment for something I didn’t know I did.
I had many anger sessions towards God and many more prayer sessions requesting help and guidance for my son. The Lord never let me down. I asked for guidance; there would appear in my life an advocate to help us have appropriate IQ testing performed; Thomas’ psychiatrist recommended us to a famous renowned neurologist who diagnosed Thomas with brain damage at the age of 12 years. Something we hadn’t a clue that was even a possibility. I needed someone to come to meetings at the psychiatric hospital two hours away, my friend Sheryl was there to give up her days plans without question. Yes, God was there every stop of the way even the times I didn’t or wouldn’t acknowledge Him.
21. I can’t think about that age without crying or at least tearing up. He loves me this son of mine. There were times I felt I didn’t deserve his love that perhaps I wasn’t being a good enough mother to him. in my early years with Thomas I had no one to really talk to about him other than my own mother and husband. I had no other mothers going through similar circumstances to compare notes with. I finally connected with other Moms online when Thomas received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. God placed these wonderful, caring, funny, knowledgeable and warm women in my life.
21. I still can’t believe it. I remember my labor and delivery as if it were yesterday. I remember how enamoured Tommy and I were with him. How we were so nervous but so very happy. I was your typical neurotic first time Mom and it was glorious.
21 years passes incredibly fast as I’m sure my experienced mom friends can tell you. I couldn’t be more proud to be this young man’s mother. Mistakes, tears, advocating, and frustrating moments in all. He was mine 21 years ago and he’s still mine.