I Wouldn’t Change a Thing

A while back I asked the question, “Would I take away my child’s disabilities if it also meant taking away his differences?”  These past few days have revealed to me my own answer. I always thought that people were…well, lying, when they said that they wouldn’t change their child in any way. That they wouldn’t remove their child’s disability if they could. And I still think that many parents say things like that out of denial or possibly to gain a false sense of control. Maybe I’ve reached a different conclusion because my child’s social disability is  a slight one. He can talk and relate. He can climb and run and play. If he couldn’t, maybe I would feel differently.

Now that we have him on the right combination of medicines to allow him to control his own behavior more of the time, we are able to enjoy his personality so much more. He’s still defiant and disobedient and willful, and any number of other unflattering adjectives. He’s still a 5 year old boy. But, he’s different. And now that the behaviors and emotions are in check (for a 5 year old boy), people can see and appreciate more of his awesome differences, not just the negative ones.

My kid is different. He’s unique. He’s special. He’s not typical. He’s not boring! My kid can go into Wal-Mart dressed as Spiderman and make every stranger he sees smile. Who else do you know who can say that about themselves? I mean, sure we’re on our second or third Spidey outfit, and he’s recently been lovingly referred to as “plumber Spiderman” due to a few unsightly seam rips, BUT who cares? He’s happy with who he is and he’s comfortable doing what he wants to do. He isn’t self conscious about it. If more of us were like that, we’d all be a little weirder. And the world would be so much more colorful and happy.

And my kid thinks differently than anyone I’ve ever met. And I love it. The way he thinks will set him apart from the rest of the world. I believe he can use it to set himself apart in a very positive way. People will think, “How did he come up with that?” or “Wow, that guys brilliant. I would have never thought of doing that in a million years!” Let me share a few examples from this evening. This is just one evening! We had dinner at Olive Garden with some friends from church. Javan came. Dressed as Mr. Incredible. I think he may have been the only kid in the place. It was loud, really loud, and there were smells and movement everywhere. He did great, by the way! But when he was done eating, he complained of a headache and he seemed restless and fidgety. The table next to us was empty and I gave him boundaries that he was free to move within. “You can go to from here to the table, or the wall, but you cannot go past this chair.” He obeyed. And he thought. And then…he moved the chair! He never went past it, he just made his area bigger! My compliant, complacent little five year old self would have never thought of that! This is the kind of thinking that can take him far in this world.

Before bed tonight, Javan said something that was really thought-provoking for me and I plan to find out more about how he thinks on this. He was cuddling with Daddy before be, and I said, “Don’t forget to give the doggies night-night love.” He said, “Well, right now I’m just giving Daddy his love. You see, I have these collection cans and whenever I meet someone new I make them a can. Then I put all their love in the can so I have some for everyone.” Cool! When I was in college I learned that our brains work similarly to file cabinets. We categorize and store similar information in “folders”  in our head.  Now, anyone who’s known me more than a day knows that I don’t have great thought organization. If someone had taught me about the file cabinet thing when I was young, when I was collecting lots of information, and I could deliberately store similar information together and pull it out when I needed to, I think my whole way of thinking would be different. More organized. More accessible. Is it possible that my five year old had already figured this out on his own? Incredible!

There may be times in the future when the behaviors and extreme emotional cycles return. When I will  once again curse the fact that my son was born different. When I will pray for deliverance for him and our family from the very things that make him who he is. But, seeing what I see now, seeing that the behaviors and uncontrollable, spastic emotional cycles can be conquered and still leave behind all the wonderful things that make my kid special. Nah. I wouldn’t change a thing.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 07:29:36

    Krista, the way YOU think is amazing.

    And DUH! I think all the time about the file cabinet in my head, and I know the key is to get the information IN the folder in the first place. WHY AM I NOT TEACHING MY KIDS THIS????? Bc you are sooo right – if we had been taught that at a younger age, there’s no telling how much easier high school could have been, at the very least! Now I’m wondering how I’m going to work this into conversation today.


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