When Elijah accomplishes something new, my first thought is overwhelming joy. My second thought is usually full of fear and grief.
When Elijah crawled, I was on cloud nine for about a week…and then I started to wonder if he'd ever be able to walk. Elijah's first steps were so amazing. I was beyond thrilled. I knew how miraculous his steps were. My second thought was, "Will he ever learn how to read?" It's kind of irrational, isn't it?
Recently, Elijah learned how to play peek-a-boo with a wash cloth. It's so incredibly cute and so exciting to see him interacting with us in this way (I hope to post a video of it soon). But, my second thought was, "A six month old can do this."
I'm actually ashamed to admit these second thoughts, but I think it's important to share. The highs and lows of parenting a child with special needs are intense. When you don't know what your child will be able to accomplish, each and every obstacle they overcome is thrilling and amazing. But, there is also a deep sadness – a grief over what they should be doing.
We, of course, love and accept Elijah for who he is. But, like all parents, we will continue to push him to be his best self. I hope someday my second thoughts won't be thoughts of fear over the abyss that lies ahead, but instead – something like, "Hmm, I wonder what I'm going to make for dinner." I hope at some point I can embrace my joy without having it wrapped up in grief. Somehow, I'm not sure if that is possible. But, then again, my second thought is that anything is possible.