Mommy Letting Go of His Hand - Independence for a Special Needs Child

As I reflect on how a year ago I couldn’t get my youngest son, Yaakov to cross through the parking lot and run into the UPS store to check the mailbox by himself. Now looking at him and wondering where did time go, and did time passing make the changes in his life or was it the hard work we put in with behavior support, encouragement, being on the soccer team, or placing him into mainstream.

I know it in my heart it was a little bit of everything, and to say I am proud is an understatement.

Today, we dropped Yaakov, my fifth grader who has Aspergers, off for four days of outdoor ed. Taking in the drop off activity, watching Yaakov find his two buddies, and surrendering his meds over to his teacher. It was time for me to let go. I looked at my husband, and said he is with his friends it is probably better that we leave him now when he is happy instead of waving to him from the bus when the anxiety really kicks in.

I lean over to Yaakov and said, “I have to head to work now. I love you. Can I get a half hug?”

Already knowing the answer I can see how he is holding his body, and he is stressed and he doesn’t like being touched when he is stressed. He answers, “Bye. Love you too. No Hug.”

I smile and wave without a single tear.

Yet, walking away today and allowing him to grow up was just as hard as making him grow up. Not too long ago Yaakov had a soccer camp he had a month off and it was time to get back into action. He knew his coach wasn’t going to be there. Questions started flying as we headed to the field. “When will coach be back?” “Who will be there?” “How many people are coming today?”. Yet, after years of practice it didn’t click he was starting to panic.

As we walked down the stairs to the field, he said, “I cannot breathe.” He was starting to hyperventilate. Turning towards him I told him to look at me and breathe with me. After calming him down, he begged to go home as much as I wanted to give in. I told him, “no.”

I had to walk him on the field where he begged me to stay and wait. I showed him how all the parents where behind the fence and I too had to be back there. I also said I had a few errands to do, and I would be back in an hour to check on him.

His behavior was getting worse, and I knew I stayed it wouldn’t change. I headed off the field past all the parents and back to the car. The whole time wanting to cry, taking care of my errands returning and finding out he came out of his slump and was doing just fine.

Over the last year witnessing what his school placement and extracurricular activities has allowed Yaakov to mature has been wonderful. It has taken the community to make him successful, but now that he is how will it affect the next part of his life. MIDDLE SCHOOL!

Side note: now that Yaakov, has left for outdoor Ed. Austin, my oldest, and I were very bad. We went to ice cream for dinner. Love to give those memories to Austin, who has given up so much for our family. Now to figure out something fun to do with my hubby while the little one is away?

Being a parent is learning to use those moments of freedom for yourself and your hubby.