My son and I just went nightswimming in our pool. The floodlights went off, and I looked up towards the trees and saw the fireflies blinking all over the place. I looked at all those fireflies and I just paused for a moment. I thought about all my son has experienced in his life, the hopes and the highs, the downs and the lows, and what it all must mean to him. My definition of success is much different than his. When I was his age, college seemed like an eternity away, but I knew it was something I wanted. For my son, success is sometimes just getting through a day.
I spoke with him earlier today about his tics, and how they feel. He told me all about his recent tics. I asked him how hard it is to hold them back, and he told me “I don’t even try anymore. What’s the point?” I was so proud of him at that moment. He is learning to accept what life has thrown at him. I know it’s not an easy road for him. Every time he meets someone new, especially his peers, there comes a time when the dreaded conversation has to happen. About Tourette’s and the tics. Tics are a lot like energy. You can try to stop it, but it will always get released. Sometimes it becomes something different, or it comes out faster. But eventually, it will happen.
I never dreamed I would have a son with special needs. His needs aren’t even close to the severity that other folks have, but they are there still the same. Am I overprotective at times? Lord yes! If I’m not, or my wife isn’t, who will be? But sometimes I have to let him spread his wings and fly. After many years of trying, he finally learned to ride a bike a couple weeks ago. Since then, he has fallen and received a few scrapes and bruises, but he always gets back up again. The need to try is greater than the fear. My little boy is growing up. Too fast for my liking, but every parent goes through this.
I am watching him now, playing Xbox with a friend, and he is ticcing away. To this observer, it looks painful, but it isn’t for him. Trust me, he would tell me. I’m proud of my little man. He has come such a long way since this time last year. Back then, his fear was his constant companion. It’s still there, but it doesn’t rule his life the way it used to. I think everyone should have a little fear, otherwise we would do anything we wanted. And that’s not always a good thing.
My house has other children in it all the time now. Children who accept him for who he is. Children who don’t think he is weird or contagious. I am so grateful this is happening. Friends are so important to him, and he needs them. My son has no siblings which was another thing life threw our way. Sometimes, Mom and Dad aren’t enough. Sometimes we’re just the “old” people who don’t have a clue. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tonight, I think I’m going to leave him and his friend to have fun, go outside, and watch the fireflies.