I met a mom today who has a seventeen-year-old son who wants to be autonomous. Dad doesn’t want to let his son go out for spring break. Mom thinks that it is good to let their son go out. She feels if they raised their son right, he will make the right choices. As I was listening to this dear mom tell her story, I found myself relating to her.
How could I relate to this mom raising her healthy son? I am a special needs mom raising a non-verbal six-year-old son on a ventilator. As different as we may seem, we face the same struggle; being a parent.
When my son Samuel was three years old, my husband wanted to take him to the park. Every time he asked, I would say “No.” I was an overprotective even fearful mother who did not want to allow for any unforeseen circumstance to arise from such a venture.
Then an opportunity presented itself which we could not pass up. Through the kindness of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we were given a vacation to Disney World Orlando. For seven days, we went to theme parks and restaurants taking Samuel out up to three times a day. We learned how to have a checklist making sure we didn’t forget any of his emergency equipment. There was only one time we forgot his diapers when we were at a theme park. I was extremely thankful when another mom gave me one of her daughter’s diapers!
At one point, we were standing by a large pond as the sun was setting. I could hear the sound of Samuel’s ventilator as he lay in his stroller sleeping. I looked out over the pond and thought, “Are we crazy?” We were miles from the car, even more miles from a hospital and a thousand things could go wrong, yet here we were. However, nothing went wrong. No emergencies. No mishaps. We didn’t even get lost!
After we returned home, my husband asked me if we could go to the park now. I wanted with all my heart to say, “No” again but what was my defense? We had just come back from seven days in Orlando. I finally said,”O.K”. We went to the park on a beautiful brisk sunny day. The birds were singing and Samuel was snug in his bouncer under a tree. Again, nothing went wrong. It was a new beginning.