Not quite as "quippy" as my husband, but I figured "Hey, everybody else is doing it" and "Yes, mom, I would jump off a bridge. . . "
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The chosen one . . .
I decided this Christmas season I would do a post about each one of my kids. Today is Dustin's day. I talk about him a lot, but I decided I would share with you about my eldest and maybe you'll learn something you don't yet know about him.
Dustin has only been in our lives since 2001, but he has certainly made an impact on the way we see the world. He is a loving, kind and helpful child. He will happily complete any task or chore that you give him as long as he is kept on task and he doesn't think it is a punishment. He loves to be a "helper" and this can really distract him from unwanted behaviors if used properly.
The day he came into our life was a rainy one. He had a silly bowl cut haircut, a dirty jean jacket under a too-large spiderman raincoat. He also had a striped weighted "Snake" on his neck. He was sitting in the front seat of a pickup truck rocking back and forth, sucking his cheeks in. He had large "pick marks" across the top of his head from his obsessive-compulsive picking. He was obviously a mess. I can't say it was "love at first sight", actually it was fairly obvious this child came with "baggage" and it scared the stink out of me. Robert turned to me and said, "Is it too late to run?" The next few hours were interesting as he explored our home and got into far too many things. We dug worms all afternoon. He was loving and fun and yet very distant. The next visit was far better and by then, we had become attached to this odd, funny, "broken" child. We knew we were destined to be a home for Dustin, if only til the "right one" came along. Little did we know, the "right one" was us!
Having Dustin has made me look at the world in a different way. In one respect it has made me more aware of the "ugliness" the world has to offer. The ugliness that allows mother's to drink while pregnant, the ugliness of mother's allowing others to harm your child in your own home, and the ugliness of some aspects of foster care. In another respect we have seen ugliness in people's reactions to our son and his behavior, the ugliness of expectations the school has had of him complying with "general education" standards, and the ugliness of misunderstanding even within our own extended families when it comes to "what is best" for Dustin and our choices in dealing with him. We can also experience the ugliness in ourselves when we have "reached our limit" in dealing with the daily struggles that life with Dustin comes with. It is those time when having a supportive spouse and a committed father is absolutely a god-send. We have learned when it is time to "tag-team" Dustin.
Thankfully having Dustin has also opened us up to a whole new world of kindness. I have experienced the kindness of another mother in a restaurant who gives you that "knowing" look and a kind smile when he is wailing about something. I have seen how he touches people and how his story has changed someone's perception about the world of a moderately handicapped child. I have experienced the kindness and patience of his teachers and his administrators who deal with his issues daily. The kindeness of the ones who have a true heart for the moderately hanidcapped child and truly give all they have on a daily basis and still can give a parent encouragement and praise. I have unfortunately experienced the kindness of behavioral hospital staff who take care of your baby when you cannot keep him safe from himself. Those staff who know it is not the fault of bad parenting that your child needs their services. I have also seen the kindness of my husband in his dealing with Dustin. He is so very patient and determined to give Dustin the best possible life. I have also felt the kindness of families like my own and some who are learning about families like ours who have commented on this blog and others. These words of encouragement and advice mean more than you can know.
We often say that Dustin's saving grace is his kindness. We have been touched by the kindness and acceptance from a child who has been "for-saken" by some many other adults in his life. He loves us unconditionally. He trusts. For that we are truly blessed.