Approaching the entrance of Ruth Eckerd Hall to attend Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I see a family ahead of me. A boy is walking between his parents. I notice the boy’s blond hair and height. The top of his head reaches to about mid-arm of his mother. He looks to be about ten years old.
Then it strikes me. That’s Samuel’s age. In that moment, I realize I am living an alternative reality. My son is not tall. He only stands twenty-five inches. He is not walking alongside me to enjoy this performance. He is at home with a qualified trach trained nurse watching over him. It’s too much of an unknown to bring him into a venue with 2000 other music enthusiasts. I couldn’t imagine Samuel getting upset and needing to be taken out of theatre. Or worse yet, what if he needs medical intervention or even something as simple as suctioning?
So, to avoid all these unknowns and potential opportunities for things to go awry, we have a wonderful nurse caring for our son.
The performance begins and soon the soothing music washes over me as I close my eyes to hear each note. The boy I saw earlier is but a memory. That is, until much later. For days afterward the image of the boy walking between his parents keeps popping in my head. It reminds me of what I don’t have, a normal, fully functional verbal child.
Soon after Samuel was born, I remember seeing a friend’s baby at the mall. All snug in his stroller, I stared at him for a full minute. I didn’t notice his hair, his face or his cute clothes. I was simply awed at how well he breathed. That was a sign, early on, I was living an alternative reality.
Those who know me will agree, I rarely, if ever contemplate this reality. I choose to see our glass as half full. I reflect on the miracle of my son’s life from a dire diagnosis. I bask in the joy of his smile and his laughter. His very life is a gift from God for which I am extremely grateful. He is a living testimony showing nothing is impossible with God.
But things tend to sneak in unawares. Like the day I realized I won’t be a Grandmother. I quickly brush the thought aside. For what does it help me to see what I don’t have, when what I do have is staring at me asking me to kiss his hand?
So I choose to live in the moment. To cherish the time I have with the son God has given me. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. If I miss this precious truth, I will only see the glass half empty. And completely miss that it is also half full.
You don’t have to a raising a special needs son to appreciate this nugget of truth. The next time you see your babies face (no matter what age they are) cherish the gift you have been given. Live in the moment of seeing them smile, laugh and love life. Your cup will be full. Don’t be too busy with the things around you to truly enjoy your children. I’ll try to remember to do the same.
Share a moment when you saw your glass as half full. I’d love to read it.
By Evelyn Mann
Author, (WIP), A Miracle In My Living Room