“It’s so sad.”
Looking at the husky teenager, speckled with glasses and dark hair, I paused. I knew what he meant as he looked at my son but I wanted to be sure.
“What do you mean?”
Pushing his glasses up higher on his nose, he then points to my son. “You know, that he’s so small and ten years old.”
I nodded. I take this as an opportunity to share with this kind boy. Knowing he has autism, I gently form my answer in a way to open his eyes to what he is really seeing.
“That’s the way God made him. You know there are different kinds of cars. There are Ferrari’s, a Cadillac or even a Pinto. Think of Samuel as a Pinto.”
He tilts his head to one side, so I continue.
“You know, my husband calls our son, God’s Alternate Construction. Samuel is just another make and model.”
His eyes grow wide with understanding and he smiles. I grin in return knowing my message made its mark. He is soon distracted and wonders off. I tuck the moment away happy for the opportunity to give another perspective on my son’s life.
And so life is all about perspective, is it not? Perhaps your job is challenging yet you are thankful for the opportunity to make a paycheck when many others are without work. Or you are an entrepreneur struggling to start a business but thankful to not be confined to the four walls of a desk job. Or you are a mother with several children being pulled in many directions but you are thankful for these beautiful babies God has given you.
Or perhaps, like me, you are a special needs mom raising a child. A child who is learning how to walk at ten years old. A child not yet in pull ups. A child who has not formed a word, except Papa/Mama (but that was only for his favorite cereal.) A child with a gastrostomy tube and a trach.
Yet, I see with eyes that are so grateful my son lived past birth. I’m awed by God who worked the impossible; weaning my son off of his ventilator. I see his life as a gift being one of only a few survivors. This gift I have been entrusted with, to share all that God has done.
So when this young boy said, “It’s so sad,” I was not offended. I embraced the opportunity to shed light on another perspective. Or when a child asks, “What is on his neck?” I share it is a trach used to help him breathe. Normally, the child will shrug their shoulders, run off and play.
When adults remark how hard it must be to raise a special needs child, I smile and say, “He is easy to love.” Or when they ask, “What do the doctors say about your son’s prognosis?” I reply, “They really don’t know what to expect, Samuel is breaking the mold.”
Yes, my son is blazing his own trail and I have a front row seat watching him exceed all expectations. I have made a habit to not focus on my son’s diagnosis and instead choose to focus on my son. That is my perspective.
What is your perspective in the face of challenging circumstances?
Written By: Evelyn Mann
Author, WIP, A Miracle In My Living Room