Today I had the crushing realization that my son is different.
No, I’m not delusional. I’m reminded that he is different 3-4 times each day when I administer his tube feedings, every week at his OT and speech therapy for sensory processing disorder, whenever I schedule his listening therapy into our day, and when I glance at the counter and see the stacks of syringes and extensions.
Today I saw him struggle through his first parent/child gymnastics class. I saw the look in his eyes as his mind tried to process the directions from the instructor. I saw him get frustrated and run the opposite way when he couldn’t figure something out. I watched the other children, some smaller than he, turn out perfect tucks and pikes while hanging from the bars. I put down his carpet square for him near the end of class, when he was visibly fatigued and didn’t move from a mat he was sitting on just away from the group.
My son is different.
He wasn’t able to process the instructions and make his body do what he knew it was supposed to do. All of that processing and effort fatigued him. When we got out of class, he became aggressive and began to act out. His therapists suggested that behavior was a result of his frustration once he was removed enough from the situation to process it all. That knowledge makes little difference for me when he’s hitting his sister or screaming at me.
As hard as it is, I have grown accustomed to that behavior at home. I am not used to seeing my smart, sweet, active, funny boy struggle so much among a group of peers. I wish there was some way I could make it all better. I have never wished for anything more.