Sometimes They Don’t Leave Home

son

When I was 18 and pregnant with my son, I thought of how wonderful it was going to be to have my child at such a young age. We’d practically grow up together and I’d have plenty of energy to keep up with him, no matter what activity or sport he chose.

Selfishly, I was also happy with the idea that before my 40th birthday, he would already be out on his own, building a life and family for himself. I’d get the best of both worlds – 18 wonderful years of raising my son and then many years afterward to live child-free. I’d still be young enough to see my son get married and even watch my grandchildren grow up. How perfect, I thought.

Life doesn’t always work out as we plan. Sometimes our children don’t leave home and build a life of their own. In all my young-adulthood planning, never once did it cross my mind that my son may not leave. I never imagined, not even for a second, that I would have a child with a disability.

While I was pregnant, I recall telling a friend, when she warned me of all the sacrifices I’d have to make, “I don’t party or go clubbing. I don’t really do anything other than work. Having a child really isn’t going to change my life all that much. It’ll just make it more fulfilling.”

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my friend was right. When my son was 6 months old, I knew there was something not quite right with him. He wouldn’t let me hold him. He had constant meltdowns and it was impossible to calm him. He would never look at me when I called his name. Although I hadn’t spent a lot of time with babies, I knew his behavior wasn’t normal.

Finally, at the age of 3 he got his official diagnosis – Autism.

What did this mean for his future? According to professionals, he would be placed into a group facility. Immediately I pictured the psychiatric wards of not-so long ago. No way I’d let him go to a place like that. If it came down to it, he’d stay with me…forever.

Suddenly, the 18 years that I had been more than happy to sacrifice in order to raise my son, turned into possibly, an entire lifetime.

Now, nearly 17 years later, my son is still years away from being able to manage in this world alone…and I’m okay with that. I’m more than okay with that. In fact, I can’t imagine him being anywhere else.

He has other plans though. He has goals. Eventually he wants to have a job, a house and a wife. The question is, will he ever be capable of achieving those things? I sincerely hope so and I maintain the faith that he will, but that is something that only time will tell.

In the meantime, he’s home. He’s safe. He’s healthy. He’s happy.

I won’t lie – I have had to make many sacrifices and I’m certain that many more will come. But, if those sacrifices mean that my son will have the opportunity to live the best life that he can, then each and every sacrifice is worth it.

 


This post is for Just Jot It January, hosted by LindaGHill. I had planned to write something different, but after reading a fellow blogger’s comment on Linda’s post, I was inspired to write this instead.

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23 Responses to Sometimes They Don’t Leave Home

  1. God bless mother love. Thus was so wonderfully poignant MWAI.

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  2. Nice writing to describe the love story that only grows as time goes on……
    Kids don’t just change you …they take you to an entirely new depth. You’re both very lucky to have each other.

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  3. aviets says:

    Wow. I found this very powerful. And as a mom myself, I totally understand what you’re saying.

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  4. I am not going to lie I cried! Not because I felt sorry for you but because I have 3 son’s and with son’s there is a bond that is very strong and disability or not the is unique. I was also moved because my kids were all born healthy and you had a baby with special needs. The sacrifices you have made double what most mom’s do. This post also made me think. I did my best with my kids and even though they were born healthy as the adults they have became include now many issues such as: drug addiction, depression, violent behavior, PTSD, to name a few. (Not all 3 but 2 of them anyway) I have given so much of to try and help them that I can’t even list the things because it would be a mile long! But I would have it any other way. Sadly they have goals that are easily obtainable but they have lost their drive to move forward. Now don’t get me wrong my kids are awesome! I am scared for them. My point is our mothering never ends or gets easier as they grow up. We just adapt and sacrifice our lives in different ways. Adjusting according to their needs. Rich, poor, disabled or not. It never ends. I myself would not change anything just going with the flow. (I would change all their problems if I could) Great post made me emotional and when you can bring your readers in to the story you are doing good! Thanks And sorry reply so long!

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you for not feeling sorry for me – that’s certainly not something I seek. I don’t feel sorry for me, so others shouldn’t either. πŸ™‚ I like the other perspective you brought up. As much as I love it when my son behaves in ‘typical’ ways, I can’t imagine him growing up having to deal with all the pressures in the world. My son, unlike typical children, is in a world of his own and could care less about being the cool kid or following the crowd. He’s never been tempted with drugs or alcohol, simply because he knows it’s wrong and peer pressure doesn’t effect him. For that, I am very grateful. I feel for parents, such as you, who have to see your children go down such harsh paths. I know it can’t be easy. As you said, parenting never ends. We just change as they change. We adapt. Thank you for this thought-provoking comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Fantastic blog, children are beautiful whether they be autistic, Asperger’s or normal! I had three boys, starting at the age of 19yrs I was blessed with three healthy normal boys Now 42, 40 and 32 years old and a grandson of 20 months. I do have a nephew with Asperger’s so I do feel I have some understanding. xxxx

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are absolutely right. They are all wonderful and special in their own unique ways. Children are truly a blessing. Glad that your boys are doing so well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • willowdot21 says:

        Suddenly I cringed at my first reply, I hope it did not read to you as I see it now. I was saying I was lucky , and I am we have problems along the way and one or too serious health scares but like you we have managed. I love that your lad has such wonderfully normal ( what ever that is ) aspirations I hope he achieves them . We all love our children they are our heroes!!

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  6. joey says:

    Wonderful. As it should be. I love that he has goals and hopes for his future. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, and I like to keep my mind open to possibilities as well. Wishing you both happiness πŸ™‚

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    • mewhoami says:

      Yes, I love that he loves goals and hopes. That is what motivates us (all of us) to keep going in life. I truly hope that he’ll see his goals and dreams become reality. Oh how I (and he) would love that! Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved this, so heartfelt and so full of heart! We just never know what we will be given to deal with, and you have addressed it with such love. I was talking to Mr. T, who, as we make college plans, has let me know that he doesn’t care about the college “experience” and if he can just commute and not live on campus, he is okay with that. His goal is to get out of college with a degree and as little debt as possible, and if he can save money by staying at home, he is okay with that.

    And, I’m okay with that, too. For a little bit longer. πŸ™‚

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    • mewhoami says:

      It’s wonderful that you are so understanding and I’m sure it helps by knowing that he’s not wanting to stay home to be ‘lazy’, but to be wise instead. He sounds like a very smart young man who will go far in life. You must be one proud momma. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course I am – and don’t think that I mean to minimize your situation at all – I get that they are totally different, but it also amazes me at how the same they can be! Your son is the same, doing what he can to get out there and be successful in his life!

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        • mewhoami says:

          I agree with you. In many ways they are very different, but in others very much the same. I love when my son has ‘typical’ teen moments and goals for his future.

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  8. April says:

    Life does throw curve balls, but is seems you’ve got this.

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