Crayons for Giants and Lush Green Grass

In retrospect, Im pretty mad at myself that I directed my last post about "special needs parenting" to Dear Special Needs mom instead of Dear special needs parent. Im sure there are special needs dads, or just dad of any kid who isn't perfect (get it? it's all of the kids. alllll the kids have extra special needs and things. yay!) that could have benefited from my encouraging open letter. Well, here is another post for parents.

***Im pretending that Im writing it to other parents, but really its a letter to my own weary, freaked out, thankful, sad, hopeful, crazy heart. Play along.

Dear special needs/stressed out/scared/ PARENT,

How's your day?

Today a caring and intuitive friend texted me "How is your stress level?"
I responded, "Well, I just found out that I need to drive an hour every week to a doctor for MJ because his spine is doing its own thing and ITS LIKE THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER TO ME and I might cry. And I swerved all over the expressway and almost crashed coming home from the-doctor-who-is-an-hour-away-that-we-will-now-visit-weekly because I was trying to not only hand my son a tiny piece of chicken sandwich, but PUT IT DIRECTLY INTO his mouth while he is rear facing strapped into his car seat whilst I was driving."

I dont even know if that is the correct usage of the word whilst. I don't care either.

My friend didn't respond.

Some days are like that. You are driving down the road of life at 70 mph and trying to feed your child who is facing the other way on the other side of the car a little piece of crumbly chicken sandwich directly into his mouth because otherwise he probably won't eat it and you want him to eat it.
(Mj struggles with food)
You know you are doing too much, but do you have a choice?
You don't.
I could totally draw this metaphor out and preach on it for like ten minutes but I won't. Just suffice to say that your choices are all crap right now, so you do the best you can and keep it moving.
That's MY today.

But yesterday? Yesterday I cheered and clapped and danced and cried happy tears because my son colored all over the floor with a crayon.
Yes Im serious. Here is the proof:

Being a mom to a kid that doctors underestimated and who may potentially have some extra challenges in life results in wild, funny, quirky, unplanned, JOY.
I thrive and bloom in those moments.

At Mj's 2 year assessment, the lady was like "Does he color?"
I said No.
She said Why?
I said, "um, we're busy?"
She didn't like that answer. I told her that we have six therapies a week, a handful of doctors appointments, a sprinkling of specialists and service coordinators, and all the super fun playdates and hangouts we can. And church. We love church and The Church so we are there alot.
He prefers being outside, so we never tried coloring yet.
She pursed her lips, checked that box as a NO and seemed less than thrilled with my careless, colorless parenting.

A week later I was in the dollar store buying comet cleanser (Did you know they sell that there? Im a natural, honest and co. or make your own cleaner with essential oils kinda girl - except for Comet cleanser for my bathtub. Get it at the dollar store.), and I saw a huge horse coloring book. So I bought it and some sketch paper and some enormous, ridiculously huge crayons that are for Giants. Or toddlers, I guess.

I took it home and pulled it out and Mj was like, "Meh" and pointed outside at the trucks on the street. That was mostly the end of that.
But Ive been working on it a few minutes a couple of mornings a week for fine motor skills practice and its growing on him. I almost want to send the assessor lady a pic of him coloring, maybe with me photobombing in the back flipping her the bird but you know, JESUS IS MY HERO so I won't.

Anyway, Mj is an amazing child. Like, kind and listens well and is obedient ( I hate that word too) and empathetic and you know, just isn't naughty. Yes we are sure he isn't adopted (see proof)

and no, we have no explanations for why he is phenomenal and a dream toddler thus far. I was a needy hellion pretty much from the moment I arrived on earth, and now Mj greets me every morning bouncing and smiling with hugs and just loves life and us.

Grace abounds, my friends.

Someone made a rude, probably jealous, comment "asking" if his chill personality and lack of general naughtiness was possibly a result of his neurological differences and they are lucky they still live here on earth with us unharmed.

Thats the problem with telling anyone my child might be slightly different than what is considered "normal." They assume all the things are not good things.

Mj is amazing because from the minute he was dragged from my womb where he was doing a handstand on his placenta (hurried c-section because he was pushing hard on the placenta) we have reassured him in every way that he is special, and loved, and brilliant, and we have never withheld our time and love and our own detriments.
Its OUR parenting style and we are happy with the results so far. He is kind and empathetic and chill because he knows he is loved beyond measure. He isn't naughty (yet)  because God is kind and empathetic and wants us to know even more WE are loved, I guess. Or maybe because we need a clearer picture of obedience and submission and trust in authority. Whatever.

So, my point is that MJ doesn't do naughty things. I guess I started to second guess the Why, and I stopped appreciating the joy of who he is for a little bit. I was like Is he not smart? Is he not curious? So-and-So's kid is SO NAUGHTY OMG and Mj has never done any of those things. Why why why why why? This happened for a few days internally because I just can't have nice things.

So, Mj colored with purple crayon all over the bathroom floor. And then all over the kitchen floor with red crayon. and on the door with blue.
YAY! Everything is better!

No, for real, this is a another story about how you should chill and enjoy your kid right where he is. There is grace right here.
Don't want someone else's life, or kid, or parenting style, or problems because then your kid will color all over your stuff.
Ive heard Magic Erasers get this off, yes? we need our security deposit back.

So the celebration continues because we don't miss anything he does as a gift because all of sudden about a year and some months ago we weren't so sure he was gonna do all the things.

One day after she watched me cheer for MJ like he just won the Super Bowl for standing up and walking a few steps, his beloved PT told me sometimes she feels bad for the parent's of typically developing children because they take so much for granted.
And I agree with her every day.
Nothing is promised and it's all a gift.
I think the parents of children who develop differently than the prescribed typical just get this a bit more. And perhaps there is more joy here to counter the hardship too. God is Good, Amen?

The grass is green here too. Right here in our own yard.


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