Perfectly Normal to Me
My 3-year-son, Matthew, will never read. He'll never write. It's doubtful that he'll ever learn to walk or talk. There's no way he'll play soccer on the third-grade team or compete in a spelling bee. In fact, the doctors wonder if he even understands his name (or that the voice that's saying it is mine). People turn their faces away when they see him. They glance in pity. They say it's so sad. They wonder how I'm holding up.
Honestly, I don't feel sad at all. While Matthew may never walk or talk or run or play, Matthew does so many things that other children won't. Matthew will sit on my lap for hours, staring into my eyes while I tell him stories and sing to him. He never wants to run away, to find something else to do. He's never climbed up onto my kitchen counter or thrown a grade-A fit when I refused to buy him candy in the grocery store. He sleeps like a baby, loves unconditionally, smiles easily and cuddles constantly. He's my baby, my son, and I love the way he is and everything about him.
When I found out that I was pregnant again a few months ago, doctors worried that my baby had the same congenital defect that Matthew has. They worried that I'd have two disabled babies. They frantically scheduled test after test after test and were delighted to tell me that the baby growing inside me is normal. Completely normal, with 10 fingers, 10 toes and a healthy ticker to boot.
Everyone is thrilled that the little girl growing inside of me is healthy. And honestly, I'm glad, too. But a tiny part of me is a bit disappointed. I don't know how to raise a "normal" child. I've never learned how to sleep-train or how to discipline or how to start feeding a baby solid food. I'm not sure how to childproof the house or to play make-believe. To be completely honest, I'm not sure I would mind another child like Matthew. Because right now, it's awfully peaceful and calm here on the couch, cuddling with my precious kid with "special needs."