When my oldest son was born there were complications. Looking on the bright side however, I believed that he would outgrow them. As time went on it was clear something was not right. When the verdict came in and he was finally diagnosed I was devastated. I don’t say this lightly.
On September 14th, 2009 at 9am, my world changed forever. I was shattered, heartbroken, and alone. "Prader Willi Syndrome, what the heck is that?" I thought. In reality it wasn’t quite like that because I knew what Prader Willi Syndrome was and I wanted to die knowing my son had this. I was standing in my driveway in my pink robe and I collapsed. I nearly knocked myself out on the pavement. It took every last bit of energy to pick myself up and walk in the door to inform my husband of the news. We sat and cried and cried. These weren’t your old run of the mill tears, these tears came from the deepest of deep spaces in our hearts, we felt as if we were sucked into the abyss.
When I finally collected myself I was filled with questions.
What will my son look like?
Will he be morbidly obese?
Will he fall in love?
Will he have friends?
Will he be bullied in school?
Will he ever talk?
Will he ever play sports or swim in a pool?
Will he live on his own and go to college?
What will his life look like?
This is just some of the things that were teeming through my brain like a swarm of African Honey Bees that have just had their hive destroyed.
I am feeling the tears well up in my eyes as I am writing. The emotions of that day still live inside me, they always resurface when I think back to that day.
It has been almost 3 years since that day and life is quite different from what I imagined. So different from what I imagined.
I need to add that not only does Blaise have Prader Willi Syndrome but he also is on the Autism Spectrum and has Sensory Integration Disorder. My life is never, ever dull.
I am not here to say that my life is easy and that my son’s diagnoses doesn't impact our lives, they do, but our lives are good.
I wanted to share a few things with you that have happened to my dear son in the past few weeks. I share them in hopes that all the families who have children with special needs will read this and smile again. I share them as a glimpse of hope of what could be the future for all special children in the world. I share them as a reminder to never give up and let others dictate who our children are. I share them because I see first hand that our world is changing, and it is possible for our kids to live a life full of love, laughter, and happiness.
My sweet boy started kindergarten on August the 6th, 2012.
I couldn’t sleep the night before. I was terrified. He was going to be in school all day long. I wondered how would he handle this, would he ask for food all day long? Would he steal food from the other children? I actually had a nightmare that the parents of the children in his “typical” class wanted him taken out. I dreamed that they were mad that their children could not have treats because my son was in their class. I can’t begin to tell you how sick I was over all the emotions that were plaguing me.
The first day of school came. Not a problem in sight. The second day of school came, even better than the first. This has been the case every school day for the last two weeks. Of course he has had a few major glitches, but so do all kids, ‘typical’ or not. Every time I walk into the school people ask me, “Are you Blaise’s mom? We love him so much.” You have no idea how much that means to me. My heart is overflowing with pride for my son. I had originally wanted Blaise to be in a ‘typical’ class all day long with an aide. It didn’t work out that way and truth be told I am absolutely fine with that. He does most of the day in a self-contained class and 2 hours in a general education class. He is doing great and I will not let my ego get in the way of that (note the hidden lesson here.)
Last Monday I picked him up from school for his therapy session. We were walking down the hall and encountered the kids from his general education kindergarten class. They were all calling his name and waving at him in the hall. Then a little boy grabbed him and hugged him. I asked if they were friends and the little boy said, “Blaise is my buddy.” I can’t tell you how I almost fainted because I realized that not only was my son not getting picked on, he was being accepted for who he is! Two days later the same thing happened as we left for therapy. This time all the kids were so excited to see him, and a new little boy was hugging him and saying that he was Blaise’s buddy.
How could I have ever imagined such love. I could only go on what I know and have seen in my life. When I was growing up kids were cruel to children with special needs. I am seeing such a difference in our young kids today, or at least the children who go to my son’s school. Just think these beautiful precious children can see my beautiful precious child for who he is inside, and not what he looks like, or what diagnosis he possesses.
As he gets older things might change, and he will probably encounter more unkind people in the world. I see something very special in my child, and I will remind him of that daily. If he encounters people who aren’t as kind to him he will have the strength to shake it off. My hopes are that he knows how loved he is and those folks just don’t matter.
I will leave you on this note. Blaise and his dad went to Florida to participate in Surfers for Autism in Flagler beach, Florida. It was amazing and there aren’t even words to describe the pride I feel for my child today.
I am in a constant state of wonder at my son. He is determined to prove that he can do it all. It might take him longer, but he will eventually get there. I will be by his side the entire time.
I love you so much, Blaise.