Every parent dreams that their child will be the best, brightest, or most athletic. I remember glowing with anticipation when I was pregnant with our first child and awaiting our perfect baby in his perfect nursery. As fate would have it, our beautiful dream was shattered the day our son was born. Alex stopped breathing shortly after his birth and the lack of oxygen caused a traumatic brain injury. What should have been one of the happiest moments in my life felt hollow and surreal. Later leaving the hospital without our baby was the beginning of a very different life than I had ever imagined.
What happened was incomprehensible! We had so many questions but most importantly why this happened to our son! I felt tremendous rage! What will become of Alex? Will I have the strength and capacity to care for him? What would our future look like?
Over the years, my rage transformed to awe watching our son’s will, tenacity and perseverance. Alex learned a lot from falling. His little legs were covered in bruises. He struggled with stairs and often tumbled headfirst. I’m not sure who cried more but Alex never gave up. He learned to sit on his bottom and bounced from step to step to go downstairs and he would lay on his belly to combat crawl upstairs. Alex was a problem solver! If at first you don’t succeed, don’t quit, try something else. Alex’s disability definitely made his life harder, but overcoming challenges is part of life. I’ve learned so much from Alex; he has made me a better mom and enriched our lives. We are indebted to many truly outstanding teachers, therapists, caregivers, and special needs parents who’ve helped us over the years. They never gave up on Alex and taught me to advocate for his needs and now he advocates for himself.
Being a parent is not easy and made more challenging when your child has special needs. Your life may not be as you envisioned but God has a plan for all of us. By the grace of God, Alex’s kindness, insightfulness, and generosity are the first things you’ll notice about this amazing young man. It’s true, our lives turned out differently but I’ve discovered my purpose and know that my son is a blessing. Life is fraught with many challenges, so brush off your bruises, make plans and forge ahead. Perhaps, you have a hero that motivates you too!