If I had a magic wand, the first thing that comes to mind is that I’d “fix” Tucker. And Boo. And Sunny. And Michael. And Owen and Liam and Kerry (with her permission, because she’s the only one on this list who is actually old enough to give it, or to say no thanks). A dozen others. A billion others. An infinity others. In fact, I’ve said before that if I could have a superpower, that it’d be to have magical healing powers.
I’d like to fix all of the kids who struggle with their words. With playing. With walking. With illness. With anything that makes life harder and less magical for them. Fix what makes them feel bad and make the pain go away.
Huh. Fix what makes them feel bad. Developmental delays and autism aren’t like cancer or childhood illness or accidents or the too-many other badthings that children face every day that bring them physical pain. Which makes me wonder.
Having a magic wand and being able to heal children with cancer makes me wonder about fixing my son. When it comes to kids like mine, perhaps I should begin by first asking myself why I want to fix him. Who would I be fixing him for? Would I be fixing Tucker for Tucker? Certainly it’d be wonderful if I were able to grant him an easier time in dealing with life’s challenges. With speech. With self regulation and anxiety. With not having to face bullies who may berate him and make him feel less than.
If I were able to fix my son, would I be doing it for me? For the fact that while pregnant, I certainly never expected delays and therapy and not watching him grow up the same way that his cousins, brothers, and friends are growing up.
Maybe. I’d like for Tucker to not have to struggle with language. I’d like for him to not be developmentally behind his peers. And that’s okay. That, and fixing cancer and other childhood illness is what having a magic wand is all about. Of course I want to make Tucker’s life better. Easier. I want to create a life more easily navigated by him. One in which, if he became lost, he’d be able to tell a policeman who I am and where he lives. His name. I want to know he’ll be okay. Independent. Able to love and laugh and live and take care of himself once I am gone.
But I think I need to ask myself something important. Would my son want to be fixed?
I don’t know. What makes him him? Would “fixing” him take away Tucker’s Tuckerness?
Maybe, while holding my magic wand, I should instead be asking myself how to fix the world.
If I could fix the world and have it be more slow, and compassionate, and accepting and celebratory…would I still want to fix my son? If I knew that no matter who he is, and who he will become, that he will be okay and embraced, would I want to fix him?
On one hand, I don’t want to change a single gene in my boy’s body. Except for when I want to for this world. I want to change him, to fix him, because of this world. This one. Because this one, right here, isn’t ready to be okay with him if he decides that herding grocery carts is the greatest, most fulfilling joy of a career that he could ever have. If he considers himself lucky to do that, and can support himself doing so, why would I change that? Or him? So that he can “fit in” with the rest of us who don’t ever feel good enough at our big important jobs anyway?
I think I’d rather fix the world. I think I’d rather fix the world to be more accommodating for my son and for all developmentally delayed and autistic children. Because maybe they’re happy being exactly who they are. And who am I – who are we – to say that there’s something wrong with them? Something broken? We’re not talking about curing cancer – that’s different. We’re talking about whether to “cure” autism and developmental delays. And the fact is, I’m not sure there’s anything broken there.
Because this little boy? He’s pretty perfect exactly as he is.
What do you think? Would you fix the child or fix the world? And if you had a magic wand, what’s the first thing you’d do with it?
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “If I had a magic wand, the first thing I’d do is…”
Janine: Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Kate: Can I get another bottle of whine?
Stephanie: Mommy, for Real
Me: Finding Ninee
Next week – 9/13 – our sentence is “My best summertime memory this year was…”