Watching Daniel Bloom

Don’t we all have special needs, in some way?

Posted on: September 29, 2011

Today, after a long hiatus, I felt like writing again – in part because this blog has become a great way for me to keep a lot of close friends in the loop, and in part because I continue to find great solace through my writing.

In so many ways, a lot has changed since my last post, and yet in other ways, so much has stayed the same. The great news is that Daniel continues to make progress, specifically in some areas that I think may be the most crucial to his future.  At the same time, new “issues” have popped up, and as each day passes, the likelihood of Daniel just “growing out of all this” becomes less likely. I continue to have a very, very hard time thinking about that, and I also continue to have enormous faith in the fact that my kid will be the one to defy the odds.

Despite that, as time passes, I’m growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of Daniel being “the kid in the class with special needs”, and with me  being “the mother of the kid with special needs”.  If that’s not brutally honest, I don’t know what is. It’s also incredibly liberating to say out loud.

That became clear to me on a recent school trip when I was (once again) feeling stressed that other parents would question my parenting and (more importantly) criticize Daniel for not following rules or behaving in the “expected” manner. In a moment of self-preservation and an attempt at explanation, I found myself saying to another mother, “that’s my son – Daniel – he has developmental delays.”

Saying it out loud left me nauseous, overwhelmed,  and relieved at the same time. But the response I got made it all worthwhile.

“Oh, really? Daniel has always stood out to me. He has such kindness in his eyes. I used to spend a lot of time in the classroom and Daniel has always seemed like such a calm and caring soul.”

My child, the same child who faced a parent petitioning for his expulsion from the school due to his “violent nature and biting,” just 2 months previous, was now being described as a calm and caring soul. (and no, I never wrote about the former situation because it was, quite frankly, too painful at the time)

I’m sharing this because it speaks so clearly to how different people can look at the same child, and yet see a totally different person.

I know that the child I see today is an amazingly loving, caring person. He has the deepest, funniest belly laugh I’ve ever heard, and when he knows you, and trusts you, he can look more deeply into your eyes – and into your soul – than anyone I know. He understands more than anyone gives credit for, and he’s smarter than any of us realize. He is moving forward every day in a way that continues to make me proud, and he is going to prove the world wrong.

Luckily for me, I have a whole team of people behind Daniel, supporting him and believing in him just like I do. I call them my “Team Daniel”, and I am so thankful for every one of them (Janet, Julie, Seana, Grethel, Susy, Kelly, Lisa, Laura, Maria, Vita…I’m sure I’m forgetting some but you know who you are). The phrase, “It takes a village” has never been more true.

We continue to push forward together. It’s not always easy, but it’s certainly worth it. Just last week, when I dropped Daniel off at school, another child walked up to him, took his hand, and said, “Daniel, come on, let’s play.” And Daniel, with a huge smile on his face, ran off after him.

It was the first time I ever saw a real “friend” engage with Daniel, and him engage back.  And I cried all the way to work, happy tears. Like I said, we continue to move forward.

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4 Responses to "Don’t we all have special needs, in some way?"

Beautiful, Victoria…another post that had me in tears. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you Victoria – your ongoing support means a lot to me. xox

Thank you, Victoria for a great post! Daniel is, without a doubt, a very special child. He is so lucky to have such understanding, patient, loving and caring parents like you guys. Victoria, your an awesome mother and I know that Daniel will be forever thankful! Also, don’t worry what others say or think about your child. At the end of the day he is your son, you love him and that’s ALL that matters! Like you said, and I quote “Don’t we all have special needs, in some way?”. So, get ready to cry some more tears of joy. Because Daniel will continue to surprise you-i’m sure!!!
Thanks again for this post 🙂

Thank you so much Susy – you have been such an important part of our journey with Daniel and you continue to play a very big role in guiding him each day, even from a classroom away :). We are all so thankful for you, Daniel especially!!! I, too, believe there are a lot of happy tears in our future. xo

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