This is James and his best buddy, Caden, enjoying a day at the park with his 3rd grade class. It’s just a photo. But this is the kind of photo that parents of children with special needs…need! We need them like we need our own breath. We savor these captured moments in time that provide so much hope and joy we actually think we might explode from the inside out. Or at least find the strength to not worry about what life might look like ten years from now, or even five minutes from now. The simplicity of just seeing a little boy embrace my son, can ground me for weeks.
It’s like Miracle Growth for my faith.
Because when I look at this photo, I’m reminded that God cares enough to continually put people in James’ life who will love him, sometimes better than I can. Or it to say it more simply,
There was a day, not so long ago, that had I been honest with you, I would have admitted that Caden probably loved James more than I did. That Caden had more patience and understanding of who James was and what he needed than even his own mother. That Caden’s world view as an eight-year-old was much bigger and accepting than mine. But when I looked at these sweet faces yesterday, what I felt was relief. Relief that I am not that same mother I was a few years ago. That my love for my son is big and real and honest. And that God cares. Oh, I already said that didn’t I?
Emotional growth is slow and painful.
And sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that you’re not in the same damn place you were in your head a year ago.
That you survived something really big and scary and the scars left on your heart because of it make a beautiful mosaic, like pieces of a stained-glass window, embracing the light and retracting it.
It’s been a roller coaster type of week for me. Being faced with the fragility of life, watching my brother Lenny bravely take on brain aneurisms, spending hours and hours sitting in a hospital waiting room with family (surrounded by all our dysfunction with no food or water), has been challenging to say the least.
There are new rules in my book for surgery waiting rooms; Plenty of Oreo’s, napping pillows, and depending on the length of time, possibly even catering.
(My friend KC pointed out in the midst of a long day, “What’s up with you all? You are Hrovat’s! You cook Klobasi and Pierogies for every event. Who dropped the ball on this one?”)
We are now in recovery mode. The surgery was a success, Lenny is home. We are breathing slightly deeper. And there were no dysfunctional family flare-ups. In fact, we laughed. A lot. And we cared for each other, better than we have in years. We should have taken a photo of all of us… to remind us of how far we’ve come.
The journey is not over. There will be hard days ahead. And I could easily move from faith back to fear in a heartbeat. I panicked after seeing this photo of James and Caden and thought about calling his mom and confirming where Caden will be going to middle school, high school and college. Where Caden will live after he’s married and if James can live in his basement. And just when the fear was digging in its heels, I get a text from James’ aide that read, “Lynn, another little girl in James’ class is asking for his phone number so she can call him over the summer. Is it okay to give?”