To My Son, From Your Mum Who's Learning How You Perceive the World

Dearest H,

I am writing this letter to tell you how truly grateful I am that you are my son and how you have changed me as a person. When I first saw your little face over the surgical curtain, I was bursting with pride and happiness. When you were about 8 months old, I noticed you were different from the other babies. As you got older, you seemed unhappy and frustrated, and you found it difficult to tell me what you wanted. I didn’t understand how you perceived the world.

Over time with support, we learned how to communicate with each other, and you were joyful. I will never forget your first word. You were in the bath playing, and I was squirting water at you and saying, “Ready, steady…” and you said, “Go!” I was so elated and felt like I had won the lottery. You were laughing and joining in the game.

Getting your diagnosis didn’t change anything, as I had already started to adapt my parenting to help you develop. I quickly realized attending a mainstream preschool seemed to make you unhappy. You started attending a school that focused on children with needs similar to yours. You enjoyed your first day and still never look back or get upset when you are dropped off.

I was so excited getting ready for your first sports day. I made sure my phone was fully charged so I could take lots of pictures of you. The first race was the egg and spoon. You did a fantastic job and enjoyed the running. You didn’t want to give the egg up at the end and started playing with it and throwing it around the playground. This made me laugh. As the next races were called, I tried to encourage you to join in by picking you up and taking you to the line to wait for your turn. You became upset and ran off every time. You were having a great time away from the other children playing with your egg, running around and going on the slide. I felt deflated and a bit disappointed because I wanted you to join in and enjoy your first sports day. Writing that has made me upset and guilty I ever felt this way.

Later on, I looked through the pictures I took and had an epiphany. It was like a light had been switched on and another door had been opened. I realized I had experienced those feelings because of my own expectations. You didn’t like lining up and waiting or joining in with the other children, so you didn’t want to do those things. I realized I need to focus on the positives — a picture of you on the slide with the biggest grin on your face.

You make me laugh, smile and cry with excitement. You surprise me every day, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of everything you achieve. You have taught me a lot about myself and have made me a better Mummy and a better person. I know we might have challenges to overcome in the future, but we will do it together. H, you light up my life and make me whole. Thank you for being my little boy!

Love you to the stars and back,

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