I would have spent a lot less time crying that first year. Hearing something is “wrong” with your precious little one…I can’t even explain the lost, isolated feeling.
Who I would have been without you may have been less frustrated, had maybe a little less gray. I’d also be less patient. I might work more, and value time to teach you things less, because the need for that time to who I am is so very clear.
I’d worry less. Or maybe not, but I’d spend my time worrying about what I can only assume are less important things. Not if someone is going to be mean to you, exclude you because you are “different.” Maybe when you don’t want to go to bed at night, I’d think “she doesn’t want to go to bed,’ rather than worrying that something is really wrong, but you can’t figure out how to tell me.
Who I would have been without you wouldn’t have been so defensive. When your teacher says you need to be able to put your coat on by yourself, my reaction would probably be “Yeah okay, we’ll work on it” rather than “are you effing kidding me? Do you REALIZE how much progress we’ve made?”
Speaking of those teachers…I would not appreciate them as whole heartedly as I do, if I would have been without you. We’ve gotten so far because of their guidance. They work with children who at times make little progress, and snarky parents who don’t want to hear what they have to say – these people are heros.
Who I would have been without you would probably be less empathetic. When nothing ever goes wrong, it’s easy to maintain a “sucks to be you, glad it’s not me” attitude. Now when I see struggling, physical or emotional pain, I wonder how it is so easy for the rest of us to ignore it. Whether it is families fleeing for a better life, or an accident survivor now confined to a wheelchair – I’m guessing none of them thought it could ever happen to them, either.
Who I would have been without you would have a smaller view of the world. You’ve taught me so much. I’d walk down the toy aisle and think “ice cream store, dial phone, cup and ball game, trampoline” rather than “social & behavioral, fine motor, object permanence, gross motor.”
I would have been less bold. The courage to speak up when I hear someone say something mean – yes, words like “retarded” – but also cruel comments that have nothing to do with me, is because of you.
Who I would have been without you would appreciate her husband less. This isn’t Sliding Doors, so I can’t see that life that might have been, but this one I’m sure of. Seeing your husband care for your child takes “love” to a whole new level. When there are extra challenges…I can’t explain it. I’m just so thankful he is here to walk beside me.
Who I would have been without you would have had less faith in herself. She might have looked at someone like me and thought “I don’t know how you do it.” But I know how. You cry, you scream at God, you throw yourself a pity party for all the unfairness. Then you tell yourself to get the f over it, dry those tears, and get to work, because that wonderful little love NEEDS you.
I don’t know all that might have been. But this much I know is true; who I am, is so much better, than who I would have been without you.