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I have never been an accepting person. A defensive person, yes, but accepting, not so much. It is something I didn’t realize about myself until after I became a parent.

When you have children, you quickly learn that your life is no longer primarily about you. Not that I would consider myself selfish, but the magnitude of this concept was not something I was aware of or prepared for. I suppose I thought it would be about me AND my kids. Not so much. Funny thing is, when you are pregnant, you become the center of attention. A position I have never really been comfortable with. Even in my career, I chose to always be behind the scenes, supporting those who take the stage.

As I wrote in an earlier post, when a speech therapist at my son’s preschool told me that my son, age 2 1/2 at the time, had a language delay after spending ten minutes with him, I thought she was nuts. When another speech therapist, who had been working with us for a short time, said that I should Google PDD, I thought she was certifiable! Not that I didn’t think something was up with my son. I knew he was different. Maybe some attention issues. Maybe, oh just maybe, he was so smart, that he was not really communicating because he was such a cerebral being!! Now that I know what I know, and J has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, ADHD, SPD, I was not all that far off.

Accepting that your child has issues is not easy. It is not easy for you, as parents. It is not easy for your extended family and friends either. A lot of people tell you that your child is fine, there is nothing wrong with him. Some people think you are hopping on some kind of bandwagon. They want to know specifically what he does that is SO different from all the other kids, especially the boys. They say, “But don’t you think that this is overdiagnosed?” and “Don’t you think he will grow out of this?” or “That’s just how boys are!”.

At the time J was diagnosed, we had very little information which meant we had very few tools in our arsenal to defend ourselves against the people who were asking these questions. It was very frustrating. How do you explain the magnitude of something like this? How do you explain that you just don’t know? We were learning too. And as soon as we had information to share, we would! We certainly didn’t wish for any of this. But we had to deal with it, the best way we could which was to learn more about it from professionals who had more of the pieces of the puzzle than we had. It took time. Hell, we are still learning everyday more and more about our son.

I get now that all those questions and proclamations were just their way of coming to terms with how our lives would forever be changed. THEY were accepting this too.

I have accepted that I am a still a defensive person, but not when it comes to myself. Not when it comes to my own insecurities. I have no time for that now. My children have taken centerstage to my defensiveness. When it comes to my children, I will do all within my power to protect that from what harm may come their way. Sometimes that is disguised with love, by people who care but just cannot accept this about my child. I no longer feel that I have to defend myself or my children to anyone. If someone has questions, let them ask in a manner that is riddled with compassion, not judgment. Let them ask me questions about how they can help, not try to convince me that no help is needed.

Now, four years later, I have accepted that my son is a bright, happy, funny kid. I have accepted that he sees the world differently. I have accepted that his needs are different than mine. I have accepted that he can show me a part of the world, his world that is amazing.


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