Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pure Joy

I can remember the look on his face in the hot tub. It was pure joy. His eyes were sparkling, he was grinning ear to ear and he was totally relaxed. I can’t remember a time where I had seen him that happy. It was many years ago, when Dear Son was small, and we were staying at a hotel. It was the first time in a hot tub. We (my husband and I) had made the mistake of taking him into the hot tub first and instead should have taken him into the swimming pool. A mistake, because once Dear Son felt the warmth of that hot tub, there was no way he was going into the pool, which was a lot cooler by comparison.

I have been fortunate to see Dear Son quite happy over the years. Playing in the dirt hole at daycare, seeing him laughing like crazy at school with his friends in the classroom, and then remembering that face from the hot tub, the one that is pure joy, where Dear Son is beaming like a 100 carat diamond ring. I don’t think you ever forget your children’s faces, when they experience pure joy. The only thing you ever do, is to try to repeat those experiences as often as possible so you can see that beautiful face over and over again.

August is always a difficult month for me. It’s difficult because I rarely get a break from Dear Son. During the school year, I have a few minutes to myself to exercise once he gets on the school bus. After school ends in early June, summer school starts up and even though it’s only a half day, I still get to squeeze in a little time to myself. Summer school ends around the third week in July and then it gets a lot harder since I don’t get a break until he starts school at the end of August. His Dad has been coming over two days a week while I work, but that doesn’t really give me any time to myself. But there is something really good that happens. When I come home from work, Dear Son is thrilled to see me. Not happy to see me, not excited to see me, but absolutely, positively thrilled to see me. It’s that same look of pure joy I saw on his face in the hot tub. Make no mistake, his father is good to him and he enjoys spending time with him, but I am rarely away from Dear Son and he clearly misses me. It is by far the best part of my day, thinking about his face while I am driving home.

I am very lucky. I remind myself of how lucky I am to spend so much time with him. It isn’t very often that I get to sleep through the night without getting up to attend to him, roll him over or change a diaper. None of these are things you should be doing when your son is almost fifteen years old. Last night alone, I went to bed at 12:30 a.m., was up the first time at 2:30 a.m., then again at 3:30 to 4 and then he was up for the day by 4:45 a.m. I can usually manage pretty well except for the days when I am only asleep for an hour before he wakes up for the first time. Sometimes, okay maybe more, I actually pray that he won’t wake up so I can get some sleep.

Over the weekend, I happened to catch Troy Aikman’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech. The camera panned over to his wife and three daughters. I wondered how a super jock like that felt, not having a son to play sports with, and instead, having three daughters. I imagined the dreams he once had, of having a son. Towards the end of the speech, he talked about the tough times, when say, perhaps he had thrown an interception. He spoke about something Norv Turner, one of his coaches, used to say to him, at times like this, when times were tough. Norv would say, “Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that these are the jobs we've always dreamed of having.”

I have always wanted to be a mother. Specifically, I wanted to be married and have three sons, since my husband and I loved sports, especially football. I never imagined though, having a child like this, with so many disabilities. We want everything to be perfect, we want our first born to be normal and people make decisions based on the fact that their children aren’t perfect, but I have to wonder sometimes, if I would see this type of joy when I came home from work, if he were normal. You have to admit, I am one lucky woman.


Ruth said...

I wanted to let you know that I put a link to your blog on mine. I think your blog could help other parents of kids with disabilities a great deal and also help people understand the experience of parenting a child with special needs. I am an aunt of two special needs children and also have a disability. Your blog is wonderful.

Surgeon in my dreams said...

We sometimes have to "make the choice" of acceptance or we can become angry and resentful. We can all learn a lot from you Dream Mom, and most likely have.

zoe said...

My son had a classmate who could make your day in a heartbeat when you walked into the room and he greeted you with the most beautiful smile and "Hello". He had lost most of his abilities to a degenerative muscle disease but his smile could light up a room. When my son is really happy he has a little bounce to his step. It is very funny to watch. One year at Christmas we bought a big plastic santa that lights up, the kind that people put on their lawns. He carried it to the car bouncing all the way. I can still see him- so happy, it was such a sweet moment. The santa ended up in his bedroom as a very large night light because he had a hard time leaving it outside.

Dreaming again said...

I smile when I read posts like this.
Pure explination of the poem that I wrote A Mother's Heart.

The disabilities may vary, but the heart is the same.

A Mother's Heart ... what a privilege to see that perfect child commune with God.

wolfbaby said...

I love that look of joy on my girls face... when they do something or find something that makes them that happy...

it's a beatiful face to fall asleep to.

cathy_bythesea said...

This is a beautiful blog and your entries are very inspiring. I found you through Doctor Anonymous. I will put a link from my blog to yours. Hope you can visit me sometime. God bless you!

Dream Mom said...

Ruth & Cathy-Thanks for the link. Cathy-I will check out your blog soon.
Zoe-LOVED the story about the large night light. Those are the things that make you fall in love with them again and again. It's the part where they live their lives with total passion and from the heart that makes them truly a gift. If everyone were to live their lives this way, what a wonderful world it will be.
Dreaming Again-That is a wonderful poem you wrote. I printed it out after you sent it to me.
Wolfbaby-You are so right, a beautiful face to fall asleep to.
Surgeon in my dreams-You are right, you do have to make a choice sometimes on how you will handle it. For me, I used to look at Dear Son's happy little face and I thought about what face I wanted him to see from me every day-did I want him to see a happy face to let him know he fills my heart with joy or what. I decided early on that I want him to feel the joy that's in my heart for him.

Anonymous said...

which other summer school do you know?
I found some here http://www.summer-school-programs.com

but what is the url of yours? I would like some references

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