A Beautiful Nightmare
It is, you know. Incredibly lovely, beyond beautiful with colors that I never knew existed and an awareness that springs forth from my heart each and every day. It is also an insanity of joy that topples towards the deepest and darkest place I have ever been propelled, not an evil embrace but the saddest disbelief that my mind has never encountered. It is a beautiful nightmare and yet, I never wake up and so, some days are easy and fun, the light and airy thoughts circle our family of six and then other days are black as night, flying like needy bats in the early evening, eager to steal my joy.
I choose joy. Every single day, I choose joy. I have done this perhaps,in the last ten years or so. Prior to then, I used to rise each day and assess the mood that would determine the day’s events. No more, the secret that the joy lies waiting for me and follows a decision not a feeling has been a gift that may have saved me, my marriage, and the mother that I offer to my four precious children. Yet, I am left reluctant and fearful to describe the path that our fourth child walks precipitously and I acknowledge it has been a beautiful nightmare. His special needs are not cute even if he is and the reality of the great unknown sinks in a bit further each day.
This is my shameful truth, yet not to acknowledge the voracious feelings that surround my two year old son like a tornado, could be misconstrued for my being ashamed of him and the very idea is exceedingly far from my heart center, profoundly preposterous. I could adore no one more and for no one else would I go to the earth’s end to offer more or better, to temper the widening and often vehement frustration with the world that can’t yet meet his needs. I love him yet I weep and gulp sobs in the grocery store, at the playground, while fixing oatmeal in the morning, the tears are quick to flow even as I choose joy.
I am reminded that I am human and that scares me too, the bubble of safety that I had maintained my whole life has seemingly drifted away with the arrival of a beautiful blond boy. This newly exposed vulnerability shrieks at the foreboding nuances that gravitate towards us. The grief that comes with death was more manageable for me. It’s very nature has a beginning and an end. This feels like an ongoing tragedy that reaches its’ tentacles for new matters of concern to plague the mind that never once can rewind to the days before I knew the gravity of having a child with special needs. To sleep on watch, means the nightmare may slip in unaware and most of all, I want to determine when I shall awake, yet I never do.
Just yesterday I wandered into the special needs classroom that will be Amos’ first school experience next year and it nearly killed me. Why? What about it was so terrible? Nothing. Not one thing was even less than perfect. No, the teachers were kind and generous, loving and friendly with their charges, everyone laid back and happy. They seemed like better versions of myself and the children were wonderful, animated and smiling, eager to move from one activity to another. It was my own nightmare that made me catch my breath and sent me running for cover. Most days I feel like an imprisoned fisherman, trolling for troubles that seem to outweigh the last catch and my heart is the endless bait.
How had this happened? Why? Why had this happened? How had this become my reality? My coveted fourth child was on a journey that I had never considered traveling. He belonged to a club that I did not want to join and yet there I was and here he is and we live this beautiful nightmare every single day. I can’t run. I can’t hide. I can choose joy and some days it may be easier than others and admitting my weakness, the thoughts of horror that sometimes plague me, mean that I am strong. I am strong in my admission of weakness and I am strong in my love for Amos.
I imagine the ease that, unknown to me, used to rule our days and I long for that innocence instead of this beautiful nightmare that has become our reality. Real life, I have decided, is a whirlwind of feelings, thoughts, discarded expectations, grief, loss, disappointment. It is also comes in tomorrow’s unknown, lovely hindsight, well-tread paths through canopies of trees that keep us covered even in the most fervent of nature’s downpours. It’s’ wonderfulness belongs to me and I will accept that gift without a trace of lasting envy, bitterness, or anger. My joy will always prevail despite the dreams that frighten me and I am gently reminded to remember that motherhood is not for the faint of heart.