I don’t consider myself as being particularly wimpy. I am the eight-year-old who slept on a board placed on her bedroom floor for six weeks after taking a dare from her brother to jump off a six-foot retainer wall at the elementary school that left me unable to walk home.
During the 80’s and 90’s, I may have looked almost cool for a few hours here and there, decked out in gelled bangs and bright-blue eye shadow, a heavily-buckled leather jacket, cheap jewelry, an awesome attitude, and a “Hellz to the no, I won’t sleep with Billy Idol, thank you very much” thaang going on.
Since then, I’ve been skydiving and scuba diving.
I’ve braved new relationships and even more bravely braved some of their endings.
I withstood an incompetent cervix, advanced maternal age, and survived falling in the biggest love of all – the love felt for a tiny human who is both me and completely himself.
I was courageous in embracing his newborn head and sleepless nights and nap-filled days. I now encourage him to be and to become himself with and without me.
I have faced evaluations and diagnosis-less visits. I didn’t fall to my knees the first time that the word “autism” was mentioned. At the time, that felt miraculous and necessary.
But really, when I think back on all of that, it’s not like I was brave, exactly. It’s not like I’m brave now.
I’m not brave when I imagine the future.
I know that I cannot control the outcome of my stepdaughter’s possible pregnancy or what she’s going to do with this troubled life of hers today or for the rest of forever.
I know that I cannot control how children on the playground will react when my son approaches them exploding with excitement about his Lego advent calendar. I can’t control what happens when they have no idea what he’s trying to say because the word “calendar” is hard for a lot of people to pronounce but is especially hard for him.
I am merely myself while looking up at the winter’s dark sky, making wishes on stars and on beliefs.
I worry about my little boy being in this world without me.
I am brave in talking about Tucker, knowing that the words “developmental delays” and “autism” have 1,001 faces and that when people who do not know him picture him, they will picture him wrongly because it’s impossible to put a mental image on the face of any child, and that those with special needs come with their own assumed attributes.
Maybe we all have 1,001 faces.
I do. I am warrior mama and special needs advocate. I am also the mom who wishes she had more neighborhood friends. I’m a mom who wishes I knew more about my son’s brain while also knowing that knowing would likely not change his therapies or schooling.
I know for sure that it would not change how I see him.
I see him as merely and all the way mine and himself. I see him as amazing. I see him as changing my world. I see him as brave and powerful and I know with all that I am that whatever it is that he does in this life, that he will do so in a way that is unexpected in all of the best ways.
I have the courage to imagine his greatness.
I have the courage to imagine my own.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday Post, where writers come together and post endings to the current sentence. This week’s is “I’ve never had the courage to…”