I started this post a thousand times in my head and it was always called, Acceptance. I was cleaning up a pile of papers and came across a note with the same word written on it - a reminder to myself to write a post about this topic. Then I was reading an emotionally laden fiction book about family and it talked about the stages of grief, but acceptance was introduced to me for the first time as reconciliation.
I thought about writing about the people around me who need to reconcile their thoughts and feelings about Ben - everyone from close family members to strangers we see on the street. Adding to the stress of having a son like Ben, is dealing with everyone else. But that's not fair - everyone is at their own place, on their own journey and try as I might judge other's level of acceptance, I am not in the position to do so.
After many rewrites, I decided to talk about my own journey through acceptance and reconciliation - whichever word feels more comfortable. In thinking about these words, I realized that every day we make a decision to accept changes and differences - they can be small, like having to shop at a different grocery store because your usual one is under renovation, they can be large - someone you care about is diagnosed with an illness. As I thought about this, it helped me see that as humans, we are reconciling and processing so much each day - some of it emotional, intellectual and physical.
When Ben was a baby and so much was unknown, I cried for the imagined losses he would have in life, these imagined losses being the ones I defined for him.
At nine years old, those imagined losses are meaningless. Ben's gains are so much more than some adults will ever achieve. I learned that I cannot use the same yard stick on Ben that I use on myself, and I ask that others do not do that either. Accept him for who he is right now. Reconcile your own thoughts and feelings by understanding that applying your imagined yard stick to his life will always make him come up short. Throw that one out and get a new one...something with the metric system...that may just fit the bill.