If I knew then, I’d do it all again.

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A conversation with a friend the other day, got me reflecting. We were discussing termination of pregnancy if you knew you would be having a special or high needs child. This is not a post for or against. But I answered honestly and adamantly that yes if I knew then what I know now, I would still have had my son, gladly and happily!
You see my son has bipolar, etc. But bipolar, etc is not my son.
Bipolar is one of those illnesses that greatly affect his personality, so in a way it is him.
And that’s fine with me!
I am open and honest about ALL things dealing with a child with high needs and mental illness is.  But I’m equally as open and honest about the good points, not just the bad.
So yes I would do it all again because my son is my son, my son and illness has brought me here. In 13 years I have grown and learned, and yes it would be lovely to not have to learn many things I have, the things I’ve learned so soon are so incredibly important. Words can not explain what we go through, but yes I would do it all again because it’s brought us…

1. Strength.  I’d be lying if I said there weren’t horrible, awful, exhausting, frustrating, heart breaking moments. And lots of them.  So many fears and private tears.  But I’ve learned I have an inner strength I didn’t know possible. That truly a mother’s love is like no other and can give you super hero powers.

2. Don’t stress the small stuff.  I’m a stress ball.  And this has been a life long fight for me.  I stressed about everything! Now I shrug my shoulders and sigh. Alot.  I often look at what others are stressed about and remind myself, that’s big in their life,  at this moment.  Because you see so much seems trivial, when you’re in the throws of crisis almost weekly. I’m slowly, very slowly learning about the big picture. And instead of stressing over the little things, that in 5 years won’t matter, I’m learning to breathe and remember this moment won’t last but that, a moment.

3. Grace. I’ve been on this journey a while now, and I’ve learned to be graceful. Not everyone understands. I’ve learned to debate, advocate and explain with grace and facts. With that combination I’ve seen doors open, understanding and cooperation.

4. Humour. If I can’t laugh, I’m lost.  Mostly at myself.  I screw up,  I fall down, I’m often high strung, on guard and exhausted. And more often than not if I laugh at my mistakes I’m better off.  The list is long,  and I’ve had to apologize and forgive myself tons.  But my humour makes me accept I’m also human.  Plus laughing is sometimes all you can do.

5. Compassion. I have always (I like to think) had a big heart. But let me tell you having a child with illness opens your heart more than you thought possible.  Judging others is almost non existent (almost, because we’re human and no matter what at some point we judge).  That homeless guy that others mock, say is a waste? I wonder what has led him here, and what can I do to help? That kid screaming in the store, that others will tell their parents to take out, spank or tell to shut up? I will ask if everything is OK, can I help? And so on. I find myself judging those who judge now the most. If you’re not them, don’t think you know or know better.

6. Open eyes. So often we don’t have our eyes fully open to others and their struggles. So often we close our eyes to reality. Mine are open. All the time.  I’m enjoying the little successes that are actually huge. I’m watching the little moments that I used to take for granted. I’m watching the pain, the suffering , but also the courage and love. I am more aware of friendships and family.  I’ve learned you truly never know when those eyes will close forever, so open them while you can!

My son is my hero  he is all of the above and more. He is empathetic to a fault, caring, kind, smart, courteous and by far the best son I could have asked for.
And if you’re one of the lucky one’s you’ll get to see that twinkle in his eye.
And that twinkle says it all.

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