I watched you tonight….
I watched you as you carelessly played in your own little world. I watched you as you darted from one side of the house to another chasing behind, or sometimes in front of, a sweet young girl whom you have become very accustomed to over the past couple of years. She isn’t much older than you, but she understands you. She knows you like to follow, but not be touched. She knows you like to stomp your feet and grunt. She knows you speak your own little language. She knows that sometimes you just want to sit and rock in solitary.
I watched as she decided to go out and play with her sisters instead of hiding in the spot that you had enjoyed watching her play in for a while. You didn’t understand that she was gone so you kept wondering back to that hiding spot to see if she was there. Eventually, you began to cry when you realized she wasn’t coming back to the spot that, in your mind, you knew you were supposed to find her in.
I watched you tonight as you carefully avoided all of the adults and children you did not know. I watched as you fell to the floor crying when one of them noticed you and attempted to interact with you. I comforted you until you forgot what happened and got back up to play again.
I watched you tonight as you became fixated on a set of doors. You wanted nothing more than to keep opening and shutting them. You’ve always loved anything that can open and shut. I watched as it broke your heart when one of the little girls told you “no” to get you to stop because she was worried that you may break the door. She didn’t want you to get in trouble, but you couldn’t understand.
I watched you tonight as you displayed no interest in attempting to interact with a little boy who isn’t much younger than you. I noticed how you are smaller than him. I noticed how he could speak in sentences and tell people how old he is. I noticed how he seemed to be more calm than you. I heard his parents speak of the things he can do.
I didn’t want to notice the differences. I didn’t want to compare.
I watched you tonight as you didn’t notice any of this. You didn’t compare. You kept smiling and laughing, running and playing, opening and shutting, stomping and grunting, all without a care in the world. You were just as happy as you always are.
Now, as I watch myself in the mirror drying the tears from my face, I feel guilty and ashamed. This world tells us to just be thankful for our blessings; don’t compare, don’t complain, and don’t worry. Don’t speak of our insignificant pains because someone else always has it worse than we do.
What the world doesn’t acknowledge is that as soon as you notice a difference, which usually happens subconsciously, the comparison is already made. The damage is already done and all of the conflicting emotions have started to pool within; sadness, anger, envy, worry, and guilt.
I am not asking for sympathy. I am not complaining. I am putting this out there to say that society is wrong. What we shouldn’t do is tell ourselves that our emotions are wrong or we are bad parents because we feel sadness when our children struggle.
We all just want what’s best for our kids. We all want them to be healthy, happy, and able to survive on their own one day without us. It’s what makes us good parents.
I watched you tonight. I allowed myself to feel my emotions tonight and I cried tonight. I cleaned myself up and I will continue putting one foot in front of the other because I love you my Son. The way you see this world gives me strength and reminds me that things are not always as they seem. You are my hero.