For anyone to suggest that Joshua has ‘ruined my life’ , or has uttered the words ‘what a shame’ when they have seen him, has missed the point totally:
- They cannot have seen the way that Joshua’s face lights up when he sees me. They must never have witnessed the endless bear hugs that I receive, when he squeezes me tight, while he gently pats my back or strokes my hair at the same time . They have not witnessed the twinkle in Joshua’s eye as he pats his chest , then points at me, in his sign language for ” I love you!” These are all clearly Joshua’s expressions of unconditional love for his Mum and they are to be envied, rather than being pitied. How many other mothers of 18 years olds receive such blatant expressions of love from their 18 year old sons
- My life is much richer for having Joshua in it and , although he is sometimes challenging and demanding, I would always rather have him in it, rather than not. To suggest that Joshua has ruined my life, is to imply that I would be better off without him; but how insensitive and inaccurate would that be? How could anyone suggest such a crass thing to a fellow human being? When I think about the occasions that we might have lost him, during surgery for instance when he has had general anesthetic, while waiting for him to come around, agonising, I have never once thought that it would be better for everyone if he simply did not wake up. Instead I have paced around , counting the minutes until he is awake and there, smiling back at me. It is the same when Joshua is at respite, while I love and appreciate the brief break from my caring duties, I am always desperate to get him back as I miss him.
- So what have I missed out on by having Joshua in my life? We have not had the luxury of dining out in fancy restaurants or had luxury holidays, where the likes of Joshua is not welcome. But I am not so shallow as to think that is something that matters at all. We have not been able to share the pride of our son passing his GSCEs or pass his driving test and Joshua will not be setting off to University this autumn, but that does not matter in the grand scale of things. We have celebrated much more significant life skills than those : Joshua has walked, against adversity, but his determination helped him to walk. I celebrate whenever Joshua uses a new word or phrase and his clear ” thanks yous” in cafes and shops, make me beam with pride at my rare, well-mannered son. I am sad that I will never be the mother of the groom and we will never be grandparents, but those two life stages are not actually guaranteed to any of us.
Joshua has not ruined my life,rather, he has enhanced it; I have experienced first hand what it is like to be a mother and that hands-on nature of parenthood will continue for the rest of his, or my, life, whichever ends first. Joshua going to special school has given me the opportunity to meet some kind, caring friends, who I would not have known even existed and that would be a great loss to my life. Being Joshua’s mother has given me the insight to be able to share my thoughts and experiences in this blog, which is a vehicle for expression that I really value in my life. But most of all, without Joshua, I would not have experienced generous, unconditional love that sustains me through difficult times and lifts my spirits. Anyone who suggests that he has ruined my life, must be blind.