Raising a child with a developmental delay comes with more than it's fair share of stress and grief. But I have discovered over the past three years that it also brings moments of joy that I never expected. I have learned to look at life and the world around me in a completely different way since Aaron was born.
Tonight as I was
putting Aaron to bed, I had a few minutes to think about how lucky I am
to have - and appreciate - these moments. His developmental delays can
be really stressful because it takes him so long to get past those
difficult stages (hitting, biting, screaming. etc) that all kids go
through. But I get more of the sweet moments too. He was the happiest,
most cuddly baby I have ever seen for at least the first 18 months of
his life. And even though he's three now, he's still my baby. I can
still rock him to sleep.
And even though it takes him a
lot longer to learn those skills that most kids acquire so easily (like
walking and talking), when they do come, it's like magic. I really
can't describe the feeling I get when he meets another milestone. I was
proud of Jacob when he did those things, but you just take them for
granted when you have a typical child. You get excited for a day or two
and then it's on to the next milestone. But when Aaron learned to sit
up, crawl, stand and walk, it was like time stood still. We had waited
so long and worked SO hard to make these things happen, it was just an
unbelievable feeling when he actually did them. I feel like I have been
given a gift because I am actually able to appreciate and cherish these
moments because I know how much it took to get there.
are so many more of those moments with him too. Instead of just
focusing on those major milestones, we have dozens of other "smaller"
milestones to meet in between those big ones. And each of those are just
as exciting and important. They all take work and he can't accomplish
the bigger things before he does the smaller ones. All kids have to meet
these smaller milestones, it's just that they come easily to typical
kids and we don't realize they have even happened.
moments of joy may not seem like a lot, but I think it's so important
to look for the silver lining when life it hard. Raising a child with
Down Syndrome (or any developmental delay) may not be easy, but it will
always be worth it.