“Mommy, can I get this for you? I be careful. I can do it!” Braden asked so sweet naturedly. Being cautious not to show my fear, I smiled and said, “Of course. Just set it right there on the counter.” My heart raced like horse about to win the Kentucky Derby. It was only a few short feet, and he’s gotten taller. He might be able to do this. I held my breath. He walked, losing his balance twice in only a few seconds. His arm reached up towards the counter, almost to the finish line, then his hand began to shake. It was as if there was an earthquake that was only occurring in his small body. The plate pitched left, then right, and then came crashing to the floor. Like my heart, it shattered into small pieces.
The look on Braden’s face…oh the look. Shame…embarassment…frustration. Such a small task for a little boy who just wants to be helpful. Then came his small voice, “Oh Mommy. I so sorry. I didn’t mean it! Please don’t be mad. I sorry.” Over he came running on the verge of tears. I begged him not to cry, because if he started surely I wouldn’t be far behind. So, I did what we often do when all we want to do is cry, laughed. I lifted his chin, to look him in the eye. “I am not mad sweetheart. It was only an accident, and besides, now Mommy has one less dish to wash tonight!” He laughed, thank goodness, and told me how silly I am. Then, he ran quickly to the other room to make sure his daddy wasn’t upset, and then called his grandparents to make sure they weren’t upset. Why he thought any of us, much less my parents, would be upset is a testament to his sensitivity.
Braden is so determined lately, and that has left him feeling defeated. We’ve taken to wearing only elastic waistband pants, so he can pull them up and down without help. No matter what shoe, he can’t put them on without help. He cannot dress himself, even if his very life depended on it. He tried again today to pull up his running pants, and he ended up screeching in frustration and threw a tantrum. I think I would throw a tantrum if I were in his shoes too. Regardless, we work every day to teach him that while his mountains are much higher and more difficult to climb, the view is worth it. We will just have to work together as a team to get there. Besides, memories are only worth having if you have somebody you love to share them with. So, we worked as a team to get dressed. He got to finish pulling them up, and we ended with high fives.
I never knew how difficult parenting a child with special needs could be, and I never would have guessed how rewarding. Right now my boys are on an adventure together. They are off to see if they can catch the train that comes through our town, while I look to find the pieces of plate that I missed and glue my heart back together.