Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Roots and Wings

I know I usually talk about local politics here or issues that got my dander up, but this is something different.  If you read it thank you.  If not thank you for even checking in.

My boys turned 18 the first of July and it all came rushing over me that while I have always worked to give my boys roots AND wings they were going to use their wings soon.  I remember back to the day we were told that it was twins and how scared my husband and I were, but that would be nothing compared to the lifetime of love, struggles, laughter, tears and what seemed sometimes like insurmountable obstacles to come.

When the boys were small I knew that something was different with my one son Daniel.  He didn’t respond as other infants did to stimuli and he had a hold me, but don’t touch me type of personality.  As they grew Dan did not speak, his twin Dustin did most of the “interpreting” for him and he pointed a lot.  We found that his frenulum was too short at age two (something which should have been caught by his first pediatrician before his first birthday).  Once surgery was completed Dan began to speak, but not like the other children.  He didn’t play like other toddlers and he much rather would be on his own or with the adults.  Dustin was an energetic child and was into everything.  He loved music and he loved his brother, but we weren’t too sure that sentiment was returned by Daniel.  The boys grew as boys will and while I knew something was different it wasn’t until at 2 years old Dan was said to have a severe speech and developmental delay.  Later on when I finally sent them to preschool at age 4 and he was tested again it was first diagnosed as PDD NOS and later Asperger’s Syndrome.   It was ok we would work through this and Dan would be fine.  The boys entered elementary school and the public school system was as good as it gets helping us navigate the waters of special education.  Then in second grade it happened again.  Dustin was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome also.  He was higher functioning than Dan and could be kept in a regular classroom for 90% of the time, but all I could do was scream in my head, “Not BOTH my babies!”

Life has not been the easiest of travels, but I would not change a thing as far as my boys are concerned unless I could make life less challenging for them than it is presently.  One thing is I never tested them for this or that.  Changed their diet because the newest fad said it would help.  Blamed the pharmaceutical companies because the vaccine MIGHT have had a hand in this (although Dan was different from birth before any vaccines), or had an advocate for this and a therapist for that.  If they were having trouble we found the help that they needed then, we didn’t anticipate that they MIGHT need this or that MIGHT happen.  I let my boys be boys, let their hyper focus grow and become some great skills.  Dan’s eye hand coordination is better than most because he played video games that involved shooting and history.  Dustin’s love of music has made him a wonderful musician, he can name any plane that flies in the sky and knows most of the NASCAR drivers and their records.  Dan can discuss political events and WILL tell you his opinion of how the country is being run.  He can engage in a serious discussion of his spiritual beliefs and ask pertinent questions about world history.

They say that children are the reflections of ourselves, but when I look at my boys I know that is not completely true.  Oh once in a while I see a smirk that is mine and Dustin looks like a mini Tony (he’s not so mini anymore).  They both try their hand at sarcasm, but mom still wears the crown and both Tony and I love music, but they like it loud and fast like their dad and I like it a bit softer, and the list goes on.  If the boys are reflections of us they are only the best each of us had to give back to the universe and while “mommy” is adjusting to them using their wings, “daddy” reminds me that we gave them roots too.

1 comment:

  1. Elaine, this should be submitted to a magazine or the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books.

    I see it as inspiration, an essay of hope, to parents of children with special needs... No... all parents.

    You and Tony allowed your sons to grow without imposing limitations. No matter how open or tightly closed their envelopes may be, a part of their personalities are yours and Tony's. Dan and Dustin grew up in a family with laughter, strong opinion, and consideration.