I don't use that phrase very much unless I have to use it to explain something about my youngest son. Usually I say, "He has developmental delays," or I give some examples of the issues someone may need to be aware of. Often times I just say, "He's about a year or so behind."
Bugaboo has made a lot of progress lately. He is walking and even becoming aware of the ground beneath his feet. (This is very important on playgrounds, stairs, grass, and other people's homes.) He has some words we can understand. He is following some simple directions.
But as he gets older, other things have become more problematic. Often times when we are out somewhere, like a restaurant (which we don't go to very often), he has these "fits." We can't figure out what the problem is, but he is obviously frustrated/ticked off. Containers, plates, silverware, bowls - these trigger these "fits." I know he has them other places, but restaurants are what come to mind as the obvious.
We had two different meals out with two different church families this weekend, and Bugaboo did really well. The one fit he seemed to have was diffused quickly.
But tonight at small group he could not settle down. Random things ticked him off. Unknown things ticked him off. The Hubs took a shift at the beginning, and I took a shift at the end, and our small group and the hosts' dog tried to entertain him/keep him happy - which did work for a little bit. They have prayed for his testing results which we had this spring, but since we are newer they don't know all of Bug's history. At one point something was asked (kindly) about him or me or something, and I just started to cry.
I hate crying in front of people.
We have only been going to this church for a few months, and this small group even less. The tears wouldn't stop. I wasn't loud. I couldn't really talk. I just cried and said, "I'm sorry." I think I said a few other words. The more I tried not to cry, the more the tears kept escaping from my eyes.
Tonight as I sat with my youngest in someone else's kitchen, I realized that I have a label. "Special needs mom." I'm crying even now as I type it - not out of anger or a sense of unfairness. My tears are from frustration because I do not know how to always help my child. I do not always know how to explain my child to others because I do not understand it all myself. I do not have a clue what the future looks like for my youngest. I'm crying because this motherhood thing, no matter what, is the hardest thing I've ever done, even if it is the most rewarding.
I went outside. I was doing okay watching the small group kids play kickball, and then the older ones helping the little ones do a few rounds of Simon Says. No more crying, and Bugaboo was running up and down the length of the deck. Then one of the ladies of the group came out.
She looked at me and said, "I get it." Then she hugged me and I cried, "I'm sorry."
She repeated, "You don't have to be sorry. I get it. I get it."
For a few minutes she shared life with me - she who has grown children just a bit younger than I am. And all I could say was, "Thank you."
As were loading up the car, another mom my age stopped me and gave me a hug and offered to help me one day this week. I tried to apologize again for my tears, but she stopped me and hugged me again. And all I could say was, "Thank you."