I love you. You get to be the baby forever. We knew the day that you were born that something was different about you. The doctor was late and I was told to wait. We waited a bit too long. We didn’t know it for the first year, but your tiny brain went a while without oxygen. It caused some brain damage, and we still aren’t sure exactly what that means. The cerebral palsy caused your left leg and arm to move a little differently from the right side, but they get the job done. I can see how smart you are; there is no hiding that. It might take you longer to solve the problem, but I know you can do it. You amaze me every single day.
You are one of the funniest people I know, and I’m pretty funny if I do say so myself. You make me laugh each and every day. I also cry almost every day. I cry because it isn’t fair. I cry because I lose my temper. I cry because I am exhausted. I cry because I just want you to be “normal.” I cry because you don’t sleep, and I need you to sleep. I cry because you still aren’t potty trained and you are the only kid in your class that wears a diaper at nap time. I cry because my heart hurts for you.
This past week I took you to the doctor and they confirmed that you also have autism. Just like I knew that something wasn’t right before, I knew that this was a possibility. It didn’t make it any easier to hear. I cried when I took you home from the doctor’s office. You asked me what was wrong. I didn’t reply.
I know that you are exactly who you were meant to be. I cry because I don’t always know how to help you. I cry because I can’t find the patience to give you exactly what you need. I cry because I fear that you are broken and I don’t know how to fix you. I cry because life is hard enough when you are “normal.”
I know that you are happy most of the time. I know that you love me all of the time. Please know that I love you too. I love you even when I am sad, and even when I cry. I love you when I yell and when I say things like, “I am on my last nerve.” I will do whatever I can for you, no matter what that looks like.
You have a beautiful soul. I try very hard to remember that when you are kicking and screaming. When we are in public and I have to leave the store or the restaurant because the meltdown is on a level 10. I cry when you hit me or your brother or sister. When you scream and cry and I just can’t figure out what set you off. I try. I promise you that I will always try.
You are not your brain damage. You are not your autism. You are my son. You are a comedian. You are a boy full of energy and ideas. You are my shadow. I love every piece of you. I cannot fix you because you are not broken. You are a puzzle that was put together with a different method. It’s my job care for you and love you just the way you are. Perfectly imperfect, just like the rest of us.