When does it get easier? I think this is a question most parents ask. As you move from one stage that you thought was so difficult, waiting for the next thing to happen, you realize that each stage comes with its own challenges. This is the same for parents of children with special needs except to an nth degree. You are not only thinking about when, you start asking will? Will my child reach this next milestone? And you start to come to terms with fact that they might not.
I can say from experience that it does get easier. Maybe it’s because he’s older, maybe it’s because of the therapies, maybe it’s because of parenting – hopefully it’s all three. Carter has made drastic improvements from his initial evaluation and we’ve got to see how well he’s doing due to the recent re-evaulations we had to do because of the move. Carter can do things now, that at the time, the road looked so hard and like we’d never reach the end. He has taught me to never underestimate his abilities and never discount what he’s capable of, even though he doesn’t speak.
Well, 3 years later and Carter can independently go to the bathroom (still needs help with wiping), flush, wash and dry his hands, and pull up and down his pants and underwear. He doesn’t need to be told to go, he understands the urge (who would have thought I would be so amazed by that fact!) and will either go alone or tell someone he needs to go. He throws trash in the trash can without being told (sometimes other things like plates, cups, etc.). He can put on his clothes, socks and shoes and take them off and put them in the hamper. He listens and does what he is told most of the time, and his tantrums are few and far between. He has a typical diet and tries new food pretty easily. He is a champ at taking medicine (thank God!) and he takes some pretty terrible tasting ones.
I am at a point where I am very content with Carter’s progress and no longer think about what I’m missing or how hard my life is. I actually feel incredibly blessed and joyful in my everyday. How did I get here? God. He healed the parts of my heart that were broken – broken at the thought that my son might not live the life I had imagined, that I might not live the life I had imagined. He made me see the life I have is amazing and beautiful and something I never thought to ask for. I get to see beauty where others see fault. I get to find joy in the things others take for granted.