To My Fearless Son With Special Needs, From Your Helicopter Mom

To my son, Matthew,

You’re finally sleeping, and I’m exhausted. We’ve had such a great day today. You took a little step! You are so brave and amazing, and I’m your biggest fan.

I have to admit, I was shouting at your father when you took that step, but only because I thought he was pushing you too much, and I thought you were going to fall and break your neck — but you did it! I’m so proud.

I hope you understand why I’m so overprotective of you. It’s not because I think you can’t do it; it’s because I’m scared. I’m scared to push you too hard, and to be honest, I want to wrap you in cotton wool to make sure the world does not harm you, and I don’t know how to stop feeling this way. You’re lucky you have your father; he really pushes you.

I want you to know when you’re 16 and ask to go out with your friends, and I say, “Can I tag along?”, it’s not because I trust you any less than your brothers. It’s because I fear for you. I promise I’m going to try to let you have the same rules as your brothers — but I can’t promise it’s going to be easy for me! There will be times I slip up and say, “No, I am going with you!” And I know you will look at me like I’m an overprotective mother — but you have to know it’s because I love you.

You are my miracle, and I feel like I need to hold your hand every step of the way. But I’m really going to try not to be that parent who chaperones you on your 21st birthday. When I see you playing rugby or other sports, I’m going to look at you with such pride, but inside I’ll be making a note of every child who bumps into you and trying not to ban them from ever speaking to you again.

I hope you read this letter when you’re older, and that you’ll understand your “helicopter” mom. I hover because I want you to do it, not because I think you can’t. I want you to succeed and be the brilliant man I know you will be.

You’ve exceeded every medical opinion, and you’ve taught me never to stop charging forward. We thought we might lose you. We thought you would never sit, that you would never crawl and that you would never take that first step, and a little bit of my heart broke. I’ve stuck that broken piece of heart back on, but there’s still a crack. That crack reminds me of uncertainty and sleepless nights.

If I had my way, you would still be strapped to me in your baby sling, sleeping in Mom and Dad’s bedroom and never leaving my side. But I’m so proud of you, so in awe of you.

Please have patience with me. Sometimes I need a minute to catch up, but know I’m trying to catch up with you.


Your helicopter mom

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