A letter to my son...
My dearest Aiden
Today you turn 8 years old and I can hardly believe it has been that long since I first held you in my arms. You changed my whole world by your very existence!
You have taught me so much in your 8 years.
That first year of your life you were pretty unhappy- you cried and cried and cried. We went to see a lot of different doctors and they all seemed to think it was "just" colic and that you would grow out of it. Some of them thought that it was my fault that you were so unhappy- they thought I wasn't parenting you properly. They gave me a lot of really bad advice... but when I would try to do what they said we both knew it was all wrong.
We know now that you have all sorts of sensory issues and that was probably what was making you so uncomfortable. The lights were too bright, the clothes were too hard, the food didn't taste right, the sounds were too loud, the stuff around you was all too much. But I didn't know that then. I wish I had.
But we figured it out together- you, your dad and I. I learned that you felt most comfortable being held against my chest... and so that is what we did. A lot. I loved it when you snuggled up close to me because you would stop crying and your whole body would relax and you would be ok again. I learned to breath and let the world around me fade away so I could really focus on what was most important- you!
You taught me to trust my mommy-instincts. I had NO idea how to be a mommy before you came along. There were a lot of times that first year when I felt really overwhelmed. I was so sad that you were so unhappy. I KNEW something was wrong but I just didn't know how to fix it. And so we spent a lot of time crying together that year.
But I promise you that I have been so thankful for you every single day of your life. I am so glad I am your mom!
Over the years you have grown into such an amazing kid. You astound me. You have so very many challenges to overcome- your Autism & ADHD & sensory issues & Asthma is so much more than I think ANY kid should have to endure. I am so proud of you.
Your dad and I have struggled a lot over the past 8 years trying to learn how to parent you in the right way. I read about a thousand books and tried all the conventional parenting strategies... and you taught me that not every kid is the same. What works for one kid might not work for another kid. Even if something works for MOST of the kids it doesn't mean it will work for ALL of the kids.
I've learned not to care as much what other people think. You taught me that sometimes it is more important to just let someone freak out loudly or to hold them softly when they cry- even if the whole world is standing there looking at you like you are a moron.
You taught me that sleeping through the night is not a necessity... but hearing "I love you mommy" is.
You taught me how to play cars and Lego and how to make vehicle sounds.
You taught me that God always takes care of us- just not necessarily in the way we expect.
You taught me to laugh even in the midst of chaos.
You taught me that a perfectly clean house is highly overrated.
You taught me to be an advocate, to really stand up for someone when they can't do it for themselves. To be persistent and determined to do what you know is right.
You taught me not to be so judgmental. To accept people for who they are- for who GOD MADE THEM to be, not try to make them into something they are not.
You taught me to love more than I ever thought was possible.
Aiden, I wish I could take all of your struggles away. I wish I could make school and friendships easy for you. I wish I could snap my fingers and make your Autism disappear. I hate it that I passed my Asthma on to you and you have to take so many meds just to keep it under control.
But I can't take that stuff away. It breaks my heart to see how tough life can be for you, to see how frustrated and angry and hurt you get. But just know that no matter what I will ALWAYS love you and think you are super cool.
I love your laugh and your sense of humour. I love your grin and the gleam in your eyes. I love your creativity and intelligence. I love your hugs and how sweet you can be. I love your passion for life.
I love YOU Aiden. Happy birthday honey.