Throughout the day I kept thinking to myself, wow, he's 10. Hard to believe that I have been at this for 10 years. Not that I have been a parent for 10 years. Thats not hard to believe. But that I have been HIS parent for 10 years. That I have been the mom of a special needs child for that long.
It has been a long road (as chronicled in this blog). It is rewarding and challenging. It is exhausting and hard. Some days I am flying high and some days I am in the depths of darkness. I feel older than my 35 years old. I feel pride and excitement with each of his accomplishments and my love for him has no bounds.
And I feel scared. I am scared because I feel with certainty that the next 10 will be even more challenging. I fear that whatever I have encountered and have been through thus far is nothing compared to the next stage. I am frightened by the idea of puberty and adolescence. Times that are a minefield in any childs life seem like a potential IED in our life.
At age 10 he is already running away. What happens when he does it when he is older. When he weighs more than me and is taller than me. I already struggle with his strength now, what happens when I no longer even have a chance of overpowering him. When his impulsivity is an even bigger challenge for him and us? How do I keep him safe? I already told my husband that I feel like we need an electric fence that zaps him if he tries to leave our house (I'm not sure if that would get me arrested for child abuse but the idea does have some merit). For the first time last week I heard a voice in my head saying "what if we really can't figure out how to keep him in, what if he can't continue to live with us". It was a truly frightening moment.
Today, in most peoples eyes he is a pretty cute kid. Yep he isn't always easy to be around but by and large he is a yummy little boy. What happens when he is no longer a cute kid but a really difficult teenager or a strange adult? How does the world treat him then?
So while I was grinning ear to ear today thinking about what a fabulous birthday he had, patting myself on the back for making it this far I was also contemplating what the future holds. Will I look back after the next 10 and think, WOW, I did it? Will it be better and easier than the first 10. Will all my fears and worrying be for naught? I truly don't know. Only time will tell. One thing is for certain though, I really need to learn to drink a little more. Life will certainly be rosier with a few cocktails!
Happy Birthday to my very special boy!