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Nightmare Fabric

What do we fear for our children? Clear your mind and imagine what haunts the parent’s mind beyond the witching hour.

8794930-R1-032-14AWhen we are first parents, we dream of the honor and glory our child will heap upon our lives. The moment a nurse hands a swaddled, swollen-eyed bundle of alien into our arms, we are smitten with the potential this tiny body holds. Surely, this will be the most brilliant, compassionate, accomplished individual to grace this dreary planet.

Milestones pile up higher than the laundry. Or do they?

Was your nightmare a learning disability, birth defect or mental disorder which robs the child of the life you envisioned?

Years pass along with relatives and neighbors. All of them seem to slip through the hourglass like so much sand. Are there certificates and diplomas tucked between the funeral tracts? Was your nightmare the late night knock of an officer with an uncomfortable “Are you the parent of…?”

In due course, a nurse lays a swaddled, swollen-eyed bundle of alien in the arms of your child. Have you passed on your nightmare to a new parent so your grandchild can be safe under a helicopter’s watch? Or is your nightmare the child who never procreates?

All About Me?

I have no nightmares of what would, could or will befall my children. It would be an exercise in wasted time and effort. Still, I have lived them. I still am living them. I will die in their midst.

Merely because I have not dreamt it does not mean it does not come to fruition.

All About Them

I do have the children who blossomed the hope-filled aspirations of pregnancy and new parenthood. They are strong, intelligent and resourceful. My grandson calls one Mommy and the other Aunt. Before wholesale dismissing the rest, hear of how special they are.

My older son was born in the barometric drop before Hurricane Andrew. By the time the storm made landfall, he and I had rubella, German measles. Science cannot definitively pinpoint if his hormonal condition and hypothyroidism are a result of a birth defect or the live virus vaccine with which I was injected within hours of his birth.

At all junctures, the point is moot. Knowing would only open someone up for liability. It will not change the span of his life. I am grateful for a beautiful young man with a heart I was certain was lacking in his generation.

Autistic Children

Shirt available from Bearman Cartoons. Click to view store.

By the birth of my younger son, I had met his brother. They share profound autism. Neither of them speak. Knowing the specialness of the older gave me insight into life with the younger and grounded expectations of how the world would react to my activism. It slowly grew onto my consciousness; with them would the family tree cease to spread splendid branches.

My last child was destined to be it. It was more than a week before either of us was strong enough for her to be in my arms. The following week, the mayor cradled her tiny casket in his arms to the cemetery.

Last But Not Least

Autistic Girl

Silly Momma. I am the empress of pink.

Beyond it all, there is one who straddles both camps with panache. Her autistic renditions of jokes and stories make my inner Grammar Nazi’s eye twitch. She plays piano by ear. She repeats the same sentence thrice in succession. She memorizes scripts in one viewing. She runs around in a kidney-shaped circle. Her laugh is as infectious as her eyes are sparkly.

No, none of this is nightmarish.

Here shall I close. Anon I shall reveal the phantom in our midst. It is not a tale for the weak of constitution.

Regardless of the anguish others shovel onto my sidewalk,  I regret nothing. My children were divine gifts, each and every one of them. For every instance where my children are different from others, my heart knows there is a trade off. For the good comes heartache; for the despair comes triumph.

Indeed, merely because I have not dreamt it does not mean it does not come to fruition.


Hashtags: #specialneeds #parenting

What scares the bejesus out of you as a parent? Did those scary thoughts keep you from becoming a parent? How does fear change our parenting techniques?

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© Red Dwyer 2014
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11 Comments

  1. Most kids are pretty scary. I recommend dogs.
    Binky recently posted..Starving ArtistMy Profile

    Reply
    • Yes I agree with you Binky, a dog or a cat, maybe even some gerbils 🙂

      I have enjoyed reading this one Red 🙂

      Andro xxxx

      Reply
  2. They’re kids.Love them and do the best that can possibly be done by them. No one can ask for more.

    (Yours are very cute.)
    El Guapo recently posted..Live every day (every so often) like a lunatic.My Profile

    Reply
  3. Until recently my biggest fear about my children was that they would never leave home. Most did, but one didn’t, so I left. Now I fear what they have , or will, become. Will they follow in my footsteps and walk down a path that is unknown and unfamiliar to them because another says it is the right way to go. I sincerely hope not. It is my hope that they will be confident and blaze their own paths. Not to feel locked into anything that is uncomfortable, or to be willing to compromise themselves in the pursuit of pleasing others. If any of my children are reading this, carry on and be free. I love you all.
    Grant Helms recently posted..Take a voteMy Profile

    Reply
  4. I have no children of my own, but I looked after many and I am proud of how they grew up! 🙂

    I had one chance at being a father with a woman who begged me to be the father of her child, but she was only interested in getting me to pay for an unneeded abortion, her way of making money.

    I would have been a fantastic father… 🙁

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.
    prenin recently posted..Tuesday – Boiler gets fixed.My Profile

    Reply
  5. Red,

    I agree with you that the dreams we have prior to the arrival of our progeny seldom match what becomes reality; I would add my inductive belief that it is inevitable this discrepancy should create the potential for nightmares, as well as for the joy that parenthood can bring.

    In my own case, my nightmares involved my relationship with their mother, who, as we all do, had her own issues and flaws; these frictions between us can easily be traced to many of the difficulties they’ve encountered in the course their lives, as a result of their own feelings about that… A common tale I’m sure, but, verification, in my mind, of exactly what you are saying…. Now, my son is 34, and my daughter is 32; they’re living strong, honorable lives, and they know I’m proud of them both…. Since they both still call me once a week, and actually ask me for advice (which they often do take, strangely enough…) occasionally, I figure we all did pretty well at dealing with the negative aspects of life….

    Like you, I believe in focusing more on the milestones that are real in their lives, and accepting them as they are, without trying to make them fit into whatever my past dreams may have been… Therein, after all, lies the true joy of whatever bond we have with them, to be able to connect with them and feel their joys, and triumphs, as well as their problems and issues of failure in dealing with the outer world…

    As always, an extremely deep, thought provoking post…. Having worked many years in the mental health field, as a caregiver, and in support positions, I think I’ll be able to handle the next post on this subject, and will, no doubt, find even more reason to admire your strength of spirit, which, to me, shines like, oddly enough, a perfect, beautiful pearl…. 😉

    Take care, & Blessed Be, sister Red…

    gigoid the dubious
    gigoid recently posted..In order to create, one must first destroy….My Profile

    Reply
  6. I once feared I would never have children, never. Then I stayed married to raise children that were not mine. Then I feared leaving, losing their love that I had nurtured for so many years. Losing a future with them.

    Now? I fear only they will make the same stupid mistakes I did. That they will fear loss more than they will seek joy. That they will not find compassion, empathy and love in this world.

    I love you. You are my hero, now and always.

    Reply
  7. I am a great believer in that Children who come to this Earth choose their parents.. I can only say that they chose wisely .. Because as a parent you give them ALL they need.. The Love of your heart.. the Passion of your Spirit. And the Devotion they always knew they would have from you…

    I can only say in answer to your question.. I never gave any Fears of thought to the birth of my Children… The Fear came later.. When I thought one was taking a wrong path.. But my fears were short lived as the teenage years gave way to maturity..
    I now just wonder what sort of a world we are leaving our Grandchildren… this today is what I fear most.. What sort of a future will our Grandchildren have..
    But then I have to believe they too knew exactly what sort of world they wanted to be born into.. So all things are meant to be…

    Love and Blessings Red… Sue xox
    Sue Dreamwalker recently posted..Spring Shift ~ Unity ConsciousnessMy Profile

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  8. I worried I wouldn’t have children and nearly didn’t but managed to have one (a miracle child). I worried about everything because of that. Then my mother who had six begged me not to have anymore because of all the wars and how would my children survive in a world going to hell.
    Today, I worry about my grandchildren. It never stops.
    Tess Kann recently posted..Happy and SadMy Profile

    Reply
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