Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sticks and Stones

Justin and Joshua in 2009
 At times I let my frustration and feelings of helplessness get the best of me as the inability to control Justin’s seizures began to affect his development.  I knew his well-being depended on my understanding his medical problems, but I was lost in all the terminology from his doctors and therapists.   I read everything I could get my hands on, but it went over my head.  I continued to search for something to make sense and give me a glimmer of hope that my son would be alright.
 I found that glimmer of hope when Justin was labeled developmentally delayed at sixteen months of age.  I was determined to work hard with Justin so he could get back on target with his development, but the next year and a half would prove to be a very trying time for us both.  With every step forward Justin made in progress, his seizures knocked him back two. It never seemed to break Justin’s spirit even though it broke my heart every time he had to relearn walking, talking, and going to the potty. 
Evaluations had also become a big part of our lives, so I thought nothing of it when the school system wanted to run their tests when he was three years old.  After all I didn’t expect to learn anything new, but I was surprised when it took longer to fill out their forms and answer questions than it took for them to conduct their evaluation.  When all was said and done, I wanted to know if they found him delayed also, but was only told the results would be mailed to me.  Nothing to do now but wait, I thought to myself as we left the office.
And wait is what I did.  After two weeks the day finally arrived when I opened the mailbox and saw the letter I had been expecting.  I walked back home and sat at the kitchen table.  I held the letter in my hand for a long time before I finally decided to open it.  I took a deep breath and ran my finger under the flap of the envelope to retrieve the two page letter.  “Why am I so nervous?”  I asked myself.  “This one will say he’s delayed also.”   My eyes began to search for the words that had given me hope for the past year and a half, but they were nowhere to be found.
 Instead my eyes fixated on the big X mark next to “mental retardation.”  I closed my eyes and shook my head as if it would change the words I had just read.  They’ve sent me the wrong results I thought while quickly looking at the envelope and then the letter.  Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw Justin’s name on both.  I threw them to the other side of the table and buried my face in my hands.  My vision of a normal life for my son grew dimmer with each tear that fell.
 I cried until I had no tears left to cry and I prayed until I had no prayer left to pray.  Many questions raced through my mind.  What do I do now?  How would people treat him when they find out?  Would he ever be truly accepted?  I have found my questions have been answered over time. 
 What I did was continue to love and help Justin as I did before.  I have watched him succeed at things and I’ve watched him fail at things, but that’s no different than the rest of us.  We all succeed and fall short.  We just have to be willing to pick ourselves up and keep going. 
 I also haven’t had to worry too much about how people treat Justin.  He has such an outgoing personality and loves just about everyone.  The ones that really take the time to know Justin become smitten with him.  He has buddies just about everywhere we go and if he isn’t with me, they always ask where their buddy is.  Of course we’ve run into some rude people but I just try to brush it off and focus on the positive.
 In closing, I would have to say Justin is who he is and I love and accept him no matter what.  God knew what He was doing when he created Justin and I should not question what I can’t fully understand.  I’ve watched Justin grown into the handsome, sweet young man he is today and my heart fills with pride knowing how far he has come even with all the obstacles that have been thrown his way.
As always, thanks for reading.


  1. Sweet Angela! I experienced so many emotions while reading this- compassion, sorrow for your struggle, but as the school sent you the paper using the MR word I became angry! Angry at a system that is supposed to be helping families- they could still have used the word delayed!!!! Why do the "experts" have to pigeon hole our kids? But God gave you so much wisdom- You knew the right answer- God's love would continue to be poured out on Justin- a person! with some delays and challenges. Yes, more challenges than most but a person like us all. You are smarter than all the "experts" put together. You knew it didn't change Justin- the treasure God gave you! hugs and love you all to pieces!

  2. Thanks Cindy for your words of understanding and encouragement. You are an inspiration to me. Hugs back at ya dear friend. :)