Most moms of neuro-typical 14 year-olds are starting to think about them getting their driver’s license and dating. For the moms of many special needs kids, these rights of passage are a long way off and might not ever occur. Every mom is proud of the accomplishments of their kids and bragging rights are expected. But for those of us who are parents of special needs kids, it takes on a different meaning. Little things that most parents would take for granted thrill us. Of course, the term “special needs” is a catch-all phrase so every mom’s list is different as every child’s disability is slightly different.
But here’s my bragging list.
He answered the phone properly – With the exception of when his dad calls, Spencer doesn’t usually answer the phone. But the other day he answered the phone as the caller ID showed it was my business colleague whom he knows. She related to me that he had a perfect conversation with her – OK three sentences but still – and explained that I wasn’t home.
He makes breakfast and lunch for himself – Since he’s a teenage boy and the most important thing on his mind is food, Spencer mastered this pretty quickly. Now, if I’m still asleep he’ll make himself waffles or cereal in the morning and sandwiches or even a hot dog for lunch.
He takes out the trash without being asked – This is his chore and he knows it. He even knows when to put the trash bins outside for the garbage collector.
He often asks if I need help when I’m cooking – Again, back to the constantly thinking about food but it’s still an offer to help!
He shovels the driveway – My husband has MS and can no longer shovel the driveway. Thank goodness Spencer is big and strong! Yes, it takes several instructions on which way to push the snow but he does the entire driveway.
He read a passage in church – My heart was in my throat as he walked up to the pulpit on Christmas Eve to read a passage along with four other 8th graders. Yes, he stumbled once but his voice echoed loud and strong throughout the church. I’m not sure who was crying more, me or his Grandma. The most incredible feeling of pride I’ve ever had.
So, for those of you who know me and even those who don’t – when I talk about these accomplishments they might seem insignificant to you but they mean the world to me. Please share in my enthusiasm and remember that there are other moms out there who also want to brag about their special needs’ child.