For Special Needs parents, the differences start early—usually with those auto-emails you got each week of your baby’s first year.
This week, your child should be: Crawling! Playing peek a boo! Saying Mama! Doing backflips!
And it keeps going. Before preschool, your child should be potty trained! Playing well with others! Self-feeding! Fully verbal!
And from so many professionals, all the different shoulds. Mrs. Read, he should be….vocalizing, jumping, climbing, imagining, mimicking, engaging, seeking. Graduating Harvard. Signing to the majors. Curing cancer.
And all those shoulds—way back from the beginning, when my kids racked up the missed milestones—all those shoulds just pile up and depress me.
And so I’m writing to remember that they deserve a childhood, in all the childshoulds.
And I’m writing to remind myself that even in all those missed shoulds, in all the challenges of daily life, there is beauty somewhere. Even in the hardest times, my job as Mommy is to keep scanning the horizon for that little light. Writing slows me down enough to notice it.
And I write, lastly, because I am a lifelong perfectionist, and I’m always shoulding all over myself, and if you stumbled upon this site, you might know what that’s like, and we should probably be BFFs.