By: Dawn Thompson
My husband and I recently went away to enjoy some time with each other. This meant leaving our eleven-and-a-half-year-old behind with his older sister and grandmother while we were gone. We wouldn’t have minded so much, but this is the first time we left him in many years to go so far away, and with good reason.
Our son Dylan has a neurological disorder called neurofibromatosis that is progressive. We tend to worry a lot when leaving him in the care of others, especially because we know how attentive to his needs we have to be. Life is tough enough for a healthy growing boy who is naturally curious, impulsive and healthy – never mind adding multiple challenges children with special needs can have on top of that.
You can imagine our surprise to get a text from our daughter boasting a picture of Dylan standing upon a rock that said, “Mount Watatic!” Our first reaction was…what?? But we had no cell phone service until we came to the port the following day. Knowing it was far too late to give special instruction for their mountain climbing excursion, I just simply asked how he did. Brittany said that other than being a little tired, he did GREAT. Since Dylan has one-eyed vision and no depth perception, we worry about things like him climbing mountains. Because he is deaf on the same side as his vision problem, we tend to avoid things that can become challenging.
This recent feat made me think a lot about putting restrictions on any kid. I mean, what do I really know about vision loss, hearing loss or even having a leg tumor? I don’t! It’s a story that Dylan hasn’t even written and yet, part of us already has.
Yesterday the lady at the sewing store I frequent asked Dylan how he enjoyed “his” vacation. Dylan said, “Good, but my sister made me go mountain climbing” The lady said, Oh, I bet you loved it.” Dylan said, NO! It was hard and made me tired” The she added, “I’ll bet you’d do it again if you had the chance.” Dylan laughed and said, “Yeah….. probably :)”
Although I was sad to be so far away when we found out Dylan CAN climb mountains, it made us wonder if that’s what it took to allow this revelation to come about. It’s funny to think we had to be well out of the country in order to give the kid a little space but hey, if that’s what it takes 🙂