Dear Sweet Baby Boy,
In the early hours of morning, before the sun is up and our day begins, I wanted to sit down and write you this letter to tell you all you mean to me. Someday, when you are much older, and you read this, maybe you’ll understand why your life was a little different from the other kids when you were little. I want you to understand how I feel about you, and how I’ve always felt about you, when you grow up. Pull out this letter and try to understand you from my point of view.
Before you were ever born, I planned for you. I dreamt of bringing you into the life your father and I shared. We both felt incomplete. There was an emptiness, a void in our lives. We knew that you were what was missing.
Once we knew you were on the way, our lives began to change. Instead of going to movies and restaurants, we spent time at baby stores. We spent months thinking of the name that would suit you just right. And we began to dream of all the times we would have with you.
We knew from very early on that you were a boy. By knowing you would be our little boy, we felt we knew a little part of you. The day you were born, I felt a love that is so encompassing, so complete, that you can only understand it if you have your own child. You were so small and pink, so utterly a miracle of life. So beautiful. So delicate and fragile and tiny. I wish for you that gift of your own child. But if that does not happen, know that the love I have for you surpasses all love I have ever felt.
You lost a little weight in the hospital and oh, my goodness, did you love to cry!! I was a bit overwhelmed trying to soothe you but we managed. Rocking you, as you slept in my arms, I could not help but smile through all the exhaustion. Yes, my son, you were up every hour or two, day and night for what seemed forever. In reality, that continued for the first 2.5 years of your life.
And as you grew, you began to smile and to laugh. You began to say words. Very, very slowly you gave me a few words. I worried about this because you did not seem to be speaking in sentences but there were words, nevertheless, so I accepted this and we developed an understanding, just the two of us.
As you grew, you did not show us that you were missing playing with other children for the first couple of years. But as you entered pre-school, despite it’s challenges, you began to play side by side with the other children. You began to sing songs. You began to say names. And you began to show an interest in your peers.
You could not tell me about your day when I came to pick you up. But when I asked you if you played on the playground, you would say, “Yes.” Your art projects showed me other things you did at school. Those Picassos are still, to this day, prominently displayed on the door.
I was told you like to paint, especially with the shiny glitter. I heard how your classmates would not let you leave each day without a hug from each of them. At times, when I picked you up, I was treated to this delightful display of innocent love. You seemed a bit embarrassed by your classmates’ attentiveness but good-naturedly, you let them each hug you good-bye.
For a time, which you may remember as a long time, we took you out of preschool to work with “the ladies” as they came to be called. These “ladies” were your tutors, your therapists. They helped you learn in a way that no one else could. They helped you to find your voice, to be self-confident, to understand what school teachers would expect of you. They prepared you and paved the way for your growth.
As I write this today, we still have a long, wonderful road to travel. You have just started back at pre-school in your new, pre-kindergarten class with all your friends. You seem happy about this. You talk about wanting to have circle time. You ask for your friends from social skills class every week.
Sometimes, I want to peek ahead at the chapters to come. This is because I am worried for your future. And it’s not because of you have been given a label. It’s because you are my son and I am your mother. Every mother worries for her child’s future. That never stops.
I love you so much, my son. I want you to be happy. I want you grow to independence. I want you to have the confidence in yourself that I have always had. If I don’t say it often enough, I want you to understand this.
I know you can do anything you set your mind to do. You have deep strength and a strong mind. You can and you must break many barriers on your path. Don’t let anyone get in your way. Do not listen to anyone who tells you that because you see the world differently, you can not do what you want to do. I know you, like no one else does. I’ve been with you from the beginning. I am, and will always be, with you because I am a part of you. I have put my love in your heart forever. That’s what mommies are for.
Barriers are made to be broken. Because you work and think differently from others, never, ever, think that makes you less. You are more. You simply must work differently to make up for the inequality. Because, really, you are not the disabled one. It is the others, who do not understand you, that are disabled, by their ignorance. You must work around them. This makes you better. You have values and insight other people do not. You will succeed. I will be cheering you on every step of the way. And I will love you forever.
Kisses to you, always, my baby boy,