“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Teddy Roosevelt
I did a special needs mom “no-no” this morning. I allowed myself to compare Declan to others.
Today was the first day of school for our elementary school. My older 2 kids, Bobby and Catelyn, got their new clothes on, their new book bags, their packed lunches, their school supplies and headed down to the bus stop. Clean, polished, smiling and ready for a new school year.
The “Mom”arazzi was there, camera’s flashing, getting the first day of school pictures. Our bus stop has lots of kids. Our street is loaded with kids that are generally the same age and play together frequently.
Today, the bus stop had a new member. A little boy the same age as Declan was heading into the elementary school for his first day of Kindergarten.
I am very happy for this little boy – I am excited for all the kids on their first day of school. But seeing this little boy at the bus stop brought a wave of memories and new emotions.
When Declan and this boy were babies, us moms were pretty excited. Excited the boys would be the same age on the street, growing up together, doing sports teams together and of course, they would be in the same grade. But then Declan began to have some issues. And I completely forgot about our mom excitement until today.
Today I looked at the little boy and realized Declan was supposed to be standing next to him. That I was supposed to be down at the stop taking a picture of all 3 of my kids going into the elementary school, just like the other moms. But Declan wasn’t going to the elementary school today. Today as I waved goodbye to the kids from the driveway, Declan sat inside our house watching You Tube videos, eating his morning chicken, in a diaper.
Comparison is the thief of joy. There are a lot of times when I do not even see the delays with Declan, until I spend time with a child that is Declan’s age or slightly younger. Then I see Declan’s deficits. I feel sad for a moment. There are times I feel Declan was cheated out of something typical. Something easier. Then I realize how wrong I am.
I am so proud of all that Declan has been able to work through. I am so proud of all of his accomplishments. This will be his fourth year in a preschool setting, but he is learning. Just at his own pace. He is learning letters and numbers now. He is making friends. He is very kind to the people around him. He makes me smile every day. He is very happy. He is pure love.
It is also unfair of me to assume that other kids do not have their own struggles. That somehow their road is easier. Besides Declan, I have Bobby and Catelyn. I know the struggles each one of them face. Every child has an obstacle in front of them. I realize this. Declan was not cheated – his road was designed for him. As each road was designed for each child.
Declan’s time to start elementary school is coming, but it just isn’t today. He is so super and amazing – I am so happy that he too will be able to go to school with the other kids. When it is his time. I will stop letting my mind wander and compare him to others. He is so special and unique, mastering his own road. Declan shines every day in his own way. He teaches me daily about love and understanding. Declan is truly one of a kind.