Even though the special needs road can be tedious, it’s also filled with beautiful moments. A couple of weeks ago, Junior was looking at a word in a book. “Auhhhr” he said as he pointed to the “R”. Then, he said “Ohhhh” as he pointed to the “O”. I was stunned. We had never taught him letters. We have spent all of our waking moments just getting him to understand the most basic of words. It reminded me that he understands way more than we give him credit for. Just because he can’t communicate like his peers doesn’t mean he’s not smart, and just because he has sensory issues he can’t cope with yet doesn’t mean he’s lacking. I’ve spent so long treating him as a “patient”, that I sometimes forget to notice the real-live little boy in him.
Junior keeps reminding me that he’s not a checklist of milestones he’s missed or hasn’t hit yet. He’s not a questionnaire with the options “sometimes, always, never”. He’s not defined by his diagnosis. He’s a little boy who just wants to be loved.
He doesn’t see himself as different or abnormal or challenged. He just wants to run around and play and make friends with the little pigtailed girl at the playground, and yell at his sister for turning off Curious George. He wants a lollipop at Trader Joes, and he doesn’t want me to kiss him when he’s riding his trike. He wants extra sprinkles on his ice cream, a turn playing catch, and a cup of milk before bed. He wants to be happy when he’s happy and crabby when he’s crabby, and he doesn’t want anyone telling him when he should be either of those. He doesn’t want to be “normal”, he just wants to be him. He wants to be Junior and he wants to be loved just for being Junior.
He’ll never be “normal”, but why should he settle for normal when he can be phenomenal? When he can be Junior.
Read Junior’s Story Here