As parents we all have dreams for our children. Dreams for a productive, joyful, and meaningful future. The older Christopher gets I start silently tucking things away into a “never” category. And before you think that I’m being negative, it’s not. It’s realistic. Just as I’m realistic that our college son will never become a belly dancer and our six year old will likely never be a chef. There is not even a part of me that believes they will achieve those things in their lives. But for Christopher it’s different.
I feel like if I accept the “nevers” now maybe they won’t affect me in the future. It’s my way of protecting myself. Maybe I won’t mourn them when the time comes when he “should” be doing those things. For example, he’ll never drive a car. Him going to the DMV and taking a license test is incomprehensible. If I tuck this one away now, maybe when he’s 16 it won’t sting. Maybe I won’t get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. Independence, responsibility, and the freedom of going anywhere he pleases. Silently slid away. His wedding day won’t come. Another in the “never” category. Standing at the end of the aisle waiting for his bride and dancing with me as family looks on. Him being a father. Tucked away. I tell myself it’s fine. There are plenty of people out there who never get married and have children. These big moments in a person’s life will never come to fruition for him and I’m learning to accept that. If I say it out loud and tuck these dreams away I hope it’s enough. Enough to protect my heart.
When you have a category of “nevers” you must also think of the “wills.” This has been a bit trickier, there are so many unknowns with his condition. I can’t say for certain anything that he absolutely will do. Walking. Talking. Eating. These are in a different category, not even the “will” one. I don’t know if I’ll ever hear him say I love you. I don’t know if I will ever hold his hands while walking around the house. I would love to say that all of his hard work WILL pay off, but I can’t say with absolute certainty.
What I can say for certain is this: I have plenty in the “will” category. I will never give up. I will do whatever it takes to help him achieve those dreams. I will advocate to give him the best opportunities to become stronger, smarter, more independent. I will hold him every time he’s upset and crying. I will dance with him in the living room. I will snuggle into his neck just to hear his giggle. I will kiss him countless times a day and never take him for granted. I will do whatever I can to keep him healthy and safe. And I will whisper to him that even if we have to add to the “nevers” it’s okay, my heart can handle it.
Cause one thing that will never change is how much he’s loved, no matter the nevers.