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What makes my son 'enough'?

Posted Jun 04 2009 12:00am
Earlier I blogged about the concept of The Enough House – and how it can help parents of children with disabilities let go of a fix-it mentality to intervention and instead feel richly blessed by who their children are, as they are.

I wanted to write about the things that make my son Ben ‘enough’ – which is another way of saying whole – in spite of his many disabilities.

He is enough when he surprises me by signing "happy Mom" on Mother's Day, and we both know what he’s trying to say.

He is enough when I type on the computer "If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?," and he types back "Ben."

Or when he can't resist picking a dead dandelion and blowing the seeds to make a wish. Sometimes he can't blow hard enough to dislodge the seeds so he has to shake the flower in the wind. I wonder what he's wishing for.

Or when he stops on a busy street to acknowledge the elderly homeless man, sitting on concrete hooked up to an oxygen machine, and waves his "hello." It's just before Christmas and everyone's out doing last-minute shopping, but no one else allows the man to enter their vision.

Or when he arranges his many Star Wars and other characters in a complicated story montage on the dining-room windowsill, mapping intricate battles and dangerous escapes.

Or when he looks into my eyes – in silence – and we see each other. For someone who used to find the absence of sound awkward, and race to fill it with words, my son has taught me a lot.

Or when he has a giggling fit watching Tin Tin and his dog Snowy, perhaps imagining that he’s the one climbing the mountain or flying the plane.

Or when he walks away with the nurse to the operating room – knowing what it's all about – without looking back. When he was young, he’d carry a favourite object, like his butterfly net or fireman’s hat.

Or when he waits by the window on his birthday, signing "friends, where?"

Or when Halloween is still his favourite holiday – at age 15.

Or when he places an open book across his face as part of his nightly ritual.

Or when he finally sleeps and his extravagantly long eyelashes flicker over a dream. He floats. And I assume there’s no physical pain there, no anxiety about not being able to speak, no frustration that his hands won’t do what he wants, no feeling of being different. In his dreams, I hope everything is effortless.

Or when I feel his weight sink into me, and his body’s warmth is enough to make me happy.

Or when I can’t imagine one second of a world without Ben.
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