At one of my old jobs I had to spend the afternoon with a teenage mentally handicapped boy. It was exhausting, like got-back-to-my-office-and-cried exhausting. After that day I decided that I had been wrong about parents of special needs kids. I had always thought one had to be "strong enough" to have that kind of kid, but after my day with him I realized one has to become strong because that's what one has to do.
And to be honest, without sounding like some over-the-top, hyperbolizing egomaniac, with that realization came a feeling that I shouldn't be surprised if one day I too would have a special needs kid. Of course we don't yet know how James will turn out. My Little Boy Blue could be a NHS quarterback who is well liked because he's kind, honest, and hard-working. But his bottle feedings are getting worse and worse, and I don't know why. I want to give him every opportunity to prove himself but I also want to just let him rest. I want to push him, to ask him to push himself, but I already feel like I've asked too much. And I know I've said it before, but this limitless list of possible outcomes for my son are overwhelming. Too overwhelming to think about and live my life. To think about them is to break down in tears, and a fat woman crying all day is no good to anyone.
I can and will keep asking for a miraculous full restoration. But in the meantime I also have to be prepared for God wanting James to be who James is, not who I want him to be. And who he is, is someone with brain damage.
Us pro-lifers like to say that every person has dignity, is made in the image and likeness of God, is beautiful. We say that even those who seem to have lesser lives actually have lives filled with beauty, joy, love, and goodness. We talk about the lessons they can teach us. I know that all of this is true.
But where I stand right now, it all sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I don't want my kid to be someone else's lesson. I want my son to be normal. I suspect that in the future I will know much more fully the truth of those pro-life statements. I suspect that they won't be rhetoric, they will be a part of my testimony. But for now, for now, they just smack me in the face and rip out of my hands all the hopes and dreams I have for my son, my family, and myself.
Kind people have told me that I'm strong, but I am not. The truth is that if you were in the same situation as I you would do what I'm doing. You'd do what you have to do to keep the plates spinning, knowing that the only reason any of them are up at all is because you have Help.
God didn't pick me because I was big enough. I think He picked me because I was little enough.